YouTube is bringing back more human moderators to police content, after sending many of its teams home beginning in March with the outset of worldwide quarantining measures to counteract the spread of COVID-19.
Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, told the Financial Times that the company is bringing more human reviewers back into the fold, after relying more heavily on automated systems last quarter resulted in a record number of video takedowns last quarter. (YouTube removed a total of 11.4 million videos for Community Guidelines violations last quarter — almost double the 6.1 million videos it removed the quarter before that).
“One of the decisions we made [at the beginning of the pandemic] when it came to machines who couldn’t be as precise as humans, we were going to err on the side of making sure that our users were protected,” Mohan told the Financial Times, even though that might have resulted in s slightly higher number of videos coming down.”
Mohan noted that while machines are responsible for the majority of video takedowns, YouTube also relies heavily on trained human evaluators to take a second look at flagged videos in order to make more nuanced decisions — “especially in areas like hate speech, or medical misinformation or harassment,” he said. YouTube has said in the past that it has roughly 10,000 human reviewers working to ensure Community Guidelines compliance across its platform.
We’ve reached out to YouTube about how many reviewers were sent home amid the outset of the pandemic, how many have returned to work thus far, and what the company’s timeline is for returning to a pre-coronavirus human workforce.
In terms of other content safety measures, the Financial Times also reports that YouTube will continue to roll out a fact-checking tool that’s used to prevent the spread of misinformation in both the U.K. and Germany. The product — which turns up Information Panels, or boxes of text above search results that debunk conspiracies, when people search for sensitive topics– was previously available in India, and then rolled out in the U.S. in April to combat conspiracies surrounding COVID-19.