YouTube has had an issue with ads appearing on violent or extreme content for a few years at this point. Understandably, companies do not want their products associated with YouTube content they find distasteful and/or inappropriate. After significant backlash, the Google-owned company is finally taking what it believes are significant steps toward fixing this problem.
On December 6, YouTube published a blog post called “Expanding our work against abuse of our platform.” The company has essentially made its efforts to continue reducing offensive content and its association with its ad network into a New Year’s resolution. Over the course of 2018, YouTube plans to bring the number of people who manually check content to over 10,000. This team will focus on removing content that violates Google’s policies.
So far, Google is reporting success on its initiative. YouTube says that it has removed over 150,000 videos containing violent extremism since June. This has been done through a combination of machine learning and humans watching videos.
Google hopes that bulking up its team of manual reviewers will enhance machine learning, so that the company can identify problematic material quicker. The company is proud of its early successes with machine learning. Google says that its machine-learning can flag videos for violent extremism and is responsible for finding 98 percent of videos that are removed for the violation.
Google also reports that its machine learning enables the company to remove 50 percent of violent extreme content with two hours of upload and approximately 70 percent of violent extremist content within eight hours of upload. The company wants to improve those numbers, so that violent extremist content gets removed quicker.
For Google, this is a worthwhile pursuit, albeit one that is very difficult. New York Magazine reports that 65 years’ worth of video is posted to YouTube every day at a rate of 400 hours per minute. We’ll see how well Google can keep up with the uploads without remove too much content that doesn’t violate YouTube’s terms of service.