YouTube reveals prevalence of videos that violate its standards for the first time

By Paresh Dave

Apr 6 (Reuters) – About 1.6 million views out of every 1 billion on YouTube are for videos that violate its content policies, roughly in line with the previous year, the proprietary online video streaming service revealed on Tuesday. of Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc.

The “viewing violation rate” (VVR) has fallen more than 70% since the company began tracking it in the fourth quarter of 2017, YouTube said, demonstrating the progress of its efforts to Block hate speech and other videos that you consider dangerous before they go viral.

Critics have said that insufficient surveillance of YouTube and other social media companies allows false or hateful rhetoric to spread, fueling acts of violence such as the attack on the United States Capitol in January.

YouTube’s VVR rate has been stable for the past six measured quarters, according to the new data, which runs through the end of 2020.

Jennifer O’Connor, YouTube’s chief product officer, told reporters that she hopes that releasing the estimate each quarter “continues to hold us accountable.”

O’Connor said the rate, like other policy enforcement data posted by YouTube, could fluctuate as its technology, rules and users evolve.

For example, YouTube removed nearly 171,000 channels for hate speech in the fourth quarter, three times more than in the previous period. He attributed the jump to improved sensing technology.

The VVR covers all policy violations and is derived from a video sample. It does not include comments on the videos.

Facebook Inc publishes a similar estimate, but excludes harassment, spam, and other violations. In addition, Facebook has said that at least 15 million out of every 1 billion visits in the fourth quarter were to content that violates its rules against nudity and adult sexual activity, violent or graphic material and hate speech.

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In response to criticism of the “rating” itself, Facebook said last year that it would hire an external auditor to evaluate its reports.

YouTube’s O’Connor declined Monday to commit to an external audit, but said he would “not rule it out.”

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Edited in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)