On the heels of growing concerns over inappropriate content targeted at children and overall brand safety issues, YouTube is beefing up its human moderation efforts in 2018. In a new blog post, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki outlines her plans to fight against content that exploits the mission and purposes of its platform.
One of the core strategies is to up the number of people reviewing content to 10,000, in addition to frequently engaging and collaborating with those outside of the YouTube “bubble” to ensure the platform is properly addressing the maturation of AI and automated content as it pertains to how people experience content on the web.
“Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content,” Wojcicki said. “At the same time, we are expanding the network of academics, industry groups, and subject matter experts who we can learn from and support to help us better understand emerging issues.”
The pressures on Google and other platforms are coming from two places. Advertisers are, of course, invested in ensuring that their media is not placed alongside inappropriate content on the web. Per a 2017 WARC study, 78 percent of brands feel their messaging has been compromised by unsavory content on YouTube and elsewhere. Beyond the marketing world, there are growing societal concerns over how automation has created environments that are harmful to children in particular.
This focus on the human layer would suggest that YouTube doesn’t believe that automation alone can stop harmful content from appearing on the platform and that the combination of both AI and human moderation is the most effective model for decreasing undesirable content.
To contextualize why this volume of human moderators is needed, consider that 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. As the New York Magazine points out, that’s 65 hours of video every day.
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