YouTube to counter extremist content with 10000 staff

YouTube to hire 10,000 people to root out bad content

A 3D-printed You Tube icon is seen in front of a displayed You Tube logo in this illustration. Image source Reuters

Following the furore over the plethora of unsuitable videos, YouTube announced it was to implement measures such as removing adverts from videos depicting family entertainment characters engaged in violent behaviour, and blocking all comments on videos targeted at minors if inappropriate user comments are uploaded.

It is hard to know at this stage whether machine learning can adequately flag disturbing content aimed at children, as much of this type of content could be hard for an algorithm to recognise as disturbing or creepy, which is why human content reviewers are needed.

Reuters reported last month that several major advertisers - such as Lidl and Mars - had pulled ads from the platform over "clips of scantily clad children".

"Now, we are applying the lessons we've learned from our work fighting violent extremism content over the a year ago in order to tackle other problematic content", Wojcicki wrote.

Adding to the thousands of existing content reviewers will give YouTube more data to supply and possibly improve its machine learning software. At the moment, creators need at least 10,000 views to be able to earn ad money, but it sounds like the platform will also expand its team of reviewers to vet channels and videos and "ensure ads are only running where they should".

Wojcicki said that while Youtube was a "force for creativity, learning and access to information" she had also "seen up-close that there can be another, more troubling, side of Youtube's openness".

In a blog post, Wojcicki said the company was already taking "aggressive action" on comments, and was testing new systems to counter threats that combine human and automated checks.

The technology has reviewed and flagged content that would have taken 180,000 people working 40 hours a week to assess, according to Wojcicki. The website said it is drastically increasing the number of people in charge of overseeing content.

YouTube says it can take down 70% of extremist content within 8 hours using machine learning.

"As challenges to our platform evolve and change, our enforcement methods must and will evolve to respond to them".

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