YouTube has been a place where people from different perspectives have been able to share their views freely, but as the community increases in size, it commands more influence worldwide and so the company is taking stricter precautions to eliminate discriminatory, racist and other content that is aimed at propagating hatred towards a certain section of people.
In 2017, YouTube started limiting recommendations and features like comments or the ability to share a video that shares supremacist content. According to the company, this reduced the views on such videos by up to 80 percent on an average.
Starting this Wednesday, YouTube has made these rules even stricter and will prohibit videos that allege that a particular group, gender, race, caste, religion is superior to others. The company will also crackdown on channels that try to “justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion” based on sexual orientation, age, veteran status and other parameters mentioned above. For example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology or content that denies documented violent events like the Holocaust will be prohibited from the platform.
“We recognize some of this content has value to researchers and NGOs looking to understand hate in order to combat it, and we are exploring options to make it available to them in the future,” YouTube stated.
Since YouTube is used in scores of countries and by north of a billion users daily, it’ll still take a few months for the company to impose these policies and check all of the uploaded content for compliance.
“And as always, context matters, so some videos could remain up because they discuss topics like pending legislation, aim to condemn or expose hate, or provide analysis of current events.”
Crackdown on Misinformation
In addition to restricting content propagating hatred, YouTube will also start cracking down on misleading videos spreading misinformation. These include videos like the ones that show a miraculous cure for a disease or those that will supposedly help you get rich in a month, or reduce fat in a week or claim that the Earth is flat. Pilot testing of this update started in January in US and will be expanded to other countries in 2019.
According to the company, restricting misinforming content has reduced views on such videos by 50 percent in USA.
“Our systems are also getting smarter about what types of videos should get this treatment, and we’ll be able to apply it to even more borderline videos moving forward. As we do this, we’ll also start raising up more authoritative content in recommendations.”
This means that if a user is watching a video classified by YouTube as misleading, they’ll be shown recommendations in the ‘watch next’ column from authoritative sources like top news channels.
Channels running hate speech will lose on monetisation
In order to crack down on hate speech and supremacist content more effectively, channels that will repeatedly upload videos that violate the platform’s policies will be suspended from YouTube Partner program — which means that they won’t be able to run ads on their channels or use other features like Super Chat.
Prayank heads the Editorial at Candid.Technology. When not writing, he loves taking trips on his bikes or chugging beers as Manchester United battle rivals.
Contact Prayank via email: [email protected]