YouTube on Friday said consumption of videos – recommended by the platform containing misinformation is significantly below one per cent, and it is working on strengthening its systems to further reduce such instances to ensure that creators and users are protected. YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said the company has been actively working on removing misinformation, especially amid COVID-19 pandemic and has seen consumption of videos from “authoritative sources” grow 110 per cent in India during January-March 2020.
“Striking that balance between an open platform and our community guidelines, designed to protect everybody, is a point of conversation for us every day. Over the past years, we’ve been working hard to invest in the policies, resources and products needed to protect the YouTube community,” he said. Mohan added that its work has focused on four pillars – removing violative content, raising up authoritative content, reducing the spread of borderline content and rewarding trusted creators – the 4Rs of responsibility.
“Consumption of borderline content or harmful misinformation videos that comes from our recommendations is significantly below one per cent and we’re constantly working to reduce this even further,” he said. Mohan said YouTube updated its Hate and Harassment Policies last year to quickly remove any content that violates its policies. “We’re also making sure that we limit the spread of Coronavirus related misinformation on our site. These efforts are built upon our work to reduce recommendations of borderline content (content that comes close to, but doesn’t cross the line of violating our Community Guidelines,” he said. The company has a 24-hour, “follow the sun” coverage, and these teams sit across time zones, cover different languages and have different areas of expertise.
“Authoritative source content consumption on our platform, i.e. videos that are coming from authoritative sources, has grown 110 per cent in India during the first three months of 2020, mainly often times because users are coming to YouTube, looking for the most relevant information that they can find about about the crisis,” he said. Last year, YouTube had launched Fact Check information panels in India, the first country where such a feature was launched. These ‘information panels’ flag misinformation and offer correct insights with the fact checks being done by fact checking organisations.
Raising authoritative information and giving the proper context to users helps reduce and remove content that is violative of YouTube’s policies, Mohan said. Since launch, there have been over 300 billion impressions on its information panels globally. “We also updated our policies to remove egregious medical misinformation about COVID. We’re consulting with global and local health authorities as we develop these policies and we’ve been updating them on an ongoing basis to stay current with the science -10 updates in the past two months alone,” he said. These policies prohibit things like saying the virus is a hoax or promoting medically unsubstantiated cures in place of seeking treatment and YouTube has removed thousands of videos under these policies.