YouTube reportedly ignored employee warnings over toxic videos as it chased user engagement

midian182

Posts: 6,672   +59
Staff member

Bloomberg spoke to 20 current and former YouTube workers who said employees had offered suggestions on what to do about “false, incendiary and toxic” videos over the last few years. But executives didn’t want to stop recommending them to viewers or tracking their popularity, fearing it would negatively affect engagement numbers.

One idea was to stop recommending those videos that were troubling but didn’t violate the site’s policies on hate speech. The company rejected the plan in 2016, and only decided to implement something similar in January this year.

Lawyers advised YouTube employees who weren’t on the moderation teams not to search for toxic videos. If there were no proof that the staff knew this content existed, the firm would be less liable.

One person said that before Google acquired YouTube in 2006, the site was quick to address problematic videos, but that changed following the takeover, and the company started putting profit above all else.

Things became so bad that five senior workers left the company over YouTube’s "inability to tame extreme, disturbing videos." One former employee said CEO Susan Wojcicki never dealt with the content and only focused on running the company. Some called the problem “bad virality."

A YouTube spokesperson said the company started making changes to its recommendation algorithm in 2016 and demonetized channels that hosted toxic videos a year later.

While disturbing videos remain on the site, YouTube is doing more to fight back, removing 8.8 million channels for violating its guidelines in Q4 2018 alone.

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MaXtor

Posts: 352   +279
They've already successfully censored the Trending page from actual trending videos and it's become a promotional page for videos and channels Youtube likes (at least in the US). I also receive constant leftist mainstream propaganda videos pushed in my recommended feed, even after marking those channels as 'not interested.' The latest videos from center left to right wing channels which I am subscribed to often don't appear in my feed (even with the bell marked). I wonder how far they'll take their censorship in the name of "false, incendiary and toxic videos."
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,400   +3,484
How many of those "toxic" videos are actually just content the employees personally hated, and wanted to use their position at youtube to delete said content? It's not like google is known to employ tumblr dangerhairs that see anything that isnt super PC as some sort of phobic or ~ist content.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Not surprising at all. Most recently I have noticed that Youtube plugs in their own ads instead of the regional ads for a number of shows. I wonder what kind of flack the National Feeds are giving them about the loss of Ad revenue?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,739   +5,161
Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other Social media services have a tough job to do.

It's not easy censoring White Nationalism, Islamic terrorism and other forms of inflammatory hate speech since there is so much abstract nuance in language now.

But I'm sure they'll rise to the occasion to avoid lawsuits.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,789   +3,996
They've already successfully censored the Trending page from actual trending videos and it's become a promotional page for videos and channels Youtube likes (at least in the US). I also receive constant leftist mainstream propaganda videos pushed in my recommended feed, even after marking those channels as 'not interested.' The latest videos from center left to right wing channels which I am subscribed to often don't appear in my feed (even with the bell marked). I wonder how far they'll take their censorship in the name of "false, incendiary and toxic videos."
:facepalm:WTF? Don't you know? U-Tub knows what everyone wants to watch before they even think of watching it!

I wonder how far they'll take their censorship in the name of "PROFIT."
Fixed that for you! ;)
 

zigi1337

Posts: 8   +5
Bunch of sissies and swj's trying to take down videos they don't like so they can feel better about themselves. neeeeeext!