YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is weighing in on the ways that YouTube content consumption has changed — as well as the way that the corporation’s policies have evolved — in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of this latter point, Wojcicki told CNN that “we’ve had to update our policy numerous times associated with COVID-19.” In addition to an evolving stance on monetization, this also includes more recently removing videos promoting miracle cures or other medically unsubstantiated claims, as well as any videos that contradict the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommendations about social distancing.
All told, YouTube has removed thousands of videos since the start of the crisis, while serving over 10 billion impressions of information from public health organizations. Wojcicki also told CNN’s Reliable Sources podcast that the company’s bid to clamp down on inappropriate content in recent years, precipitated by 2016’s ‘Adpocalypse‘, enabled it to move more quickly in the face of the coronavirus crisis. “We’re not saying we’re done,” she said. “We need to continue to work on our responsibility efforts and we will continue to do that over the next couple of years.”
In terms of the kinds of content that is flourishing right now on YouTube, as homebound viewers seek entertainment to ride out their quarantines, Wojcicki said that those trends are evolving as well.
While initial spikes in traffic saw users seeking out basic information related to the crisis — about hand-washing, for instance — this has given way to viewership about general life under quarantine, especially as our current state of affairs has dragged on. “And so we see a lot of interest in things like exercise at home, how do I fix my dishwasher, how do I fix my freezer, how do I give myself a haircut when I’m in quarantine,” she said. A YouTube exec also previously confirmed that news content had seen a 75% increase spike as of mid-April.
YouTube has taken many strides in terms of addressing the coronavirus crisis on myriad fronts. In addition to launching a sitewide #WithMe social distancing campaign featuring top native creators, the company has set altered resolution limits globally to clamp down on internet traffic, made several Premium series free to watch, and rolled out an entirely new slate of specials designed to be produced and watched during the pandemic.
You can hear Wojcicki’s full interview on Reliable Sources right here.