YouTube Removed Over 11 Million Videos During The Second Quarter Of This Year, The Platform Relied More On Non-Human Content Moderators

When Google-owned YouTube sent moderators home back in March of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the platform dramatically expanded YouTube’s use of automated filters for content moderation. This expanded use of automated filters led to twice as many YouTube videos being taken down during the second quarter of this year as the first quarter. The company removed more clips from its platform in Q2 of this year than it ever has. According to the ‘Community Guidelines Enforcement’ report published by the company on Tuesday, YouTube removed over 11.4 million videos between April and June of this year. In comparison, the company took down less than 9 million videos during the second quarter of 2019.

Similarly, YouTube terminated 1,998,635 channels for violating its community guidelines in the last 90 days, while in that same period the Google-owned video hosting site removed 2,132,367,731 comments from its platform, most of them are being flagged by artificial intelligence systems.

In a blog post, the company wrote that when reckoning with greatly decreased human review capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube was forced to decide between potential under-enforcement and potential over-enforcement. The company chose potential over-enforcement. Back in March, Google told employees that the company was extending its work-from-home policy until the end of this year due to the pandemic.

Google warned that the measures meant that the company would rely more on technology which means that clips that would normally be fine on YouTube may end being taken down in error. YouTube also knew that removing more clips from YouTube’s platform that did not violate the company’s rules would also mean more appeals from YouTubers as a result.

So, the company added extra staff to handle those appeal requests as quickly as possible. During the second quarter of this year, the number of appeals for videos taken down was more than 325,000, while the number was 166,000 during the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, the number of clips reinstated after appeal increased from 41,000 during the first quarter to more than 161,000 during the second quarter of this year.

In the blog post, the company also wrote that for sensitive policy areas such as violent extremism and child safety, the company saw over triple the number of removals as usual in Q2 of 2020, however, the company viewed the temporary inconvenience for content creators as worth the result. YouTube wrote that the company accepted a lower level of accuracy to ensure that the company was removing as many violative videos as possible.

Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images

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