Wed, 26 Aug 2020 09:37:40
As expected, YouTube removed more videos in the second quarter of 2020 than ever before, as the company relied more on its algorithm to replace most of its human content moderators.
That's according to a Community Guidelines Enforcement report released by the company on Tuesday, which showed that the company removed more than 11.4 million videos between April and June. In the same period last year, YouTube deleted nearly 9 million videos.
“When reckoning with greatly reduced human review capacity due to COVID-19, we were forced to choose between potential under-enforcement or potential over-enforcement,” the company wrote on a blog post. “Because responsibility is our top priority, we chose the latter — using technology to help with some work normally done by reviewers.”
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YouTube's parent company Google notified employees in March that it was extending its work from home policy to the end of 2020 because of the coronavirus. The company warns that such actions mean it will rely more on technology than human reviewers and that videos that normally do fine on the platform may be removed by mistake. The human moderator works from an office specially prepared for review; to allow such work to be done outside a controlled environment runs the risk of accidentally exposing user data — and sensitive videos — to.
Companies know that removing more videos that don't violate their rules will also result in more appeals from content creators. So, Google added more staff to its appeal process to handle requests as quickly as possible. The number of appeals for content removal increased from 166,000 in the first quarter of 2020 to more than 325,000 in the second quarter. It also means YouTube reversed itself and recovered more videos in the second quarter: more than 160,000, compared to more than 41,000 in the first quarter (although YouTube noted in its blog post that some recoveries may have been appealed in the previous quarter).
YouTube said in its blog post that for sensitive policy areas such as child safety and violent extremism, the number of video removals more than tripled as usual during the second quarter, but considers the temporary inconvenience to content creators worth the result. “We accepted a lower level of accuracy to make sure that we were removing as many pieces of violative content as possible.”
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