YouTube says computer systems helped it pull down thousands and thousands of objectionable movies final quarter

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Bad information for YouTube: Last quarter, customers uploaded thousands and thousands of objectionable movies to the world’s largest video website.

Good information for YouTube: Last quarter, the positioning pulled down thousands and thousands of objectionable movies earlier than any customers noticed them.

The information YouTube desires you (and buyers, and advertisers) to concentrate on: It is efficiently coaching computer systems to flag objectionable movies, as a result of that’s the one manner it will likely be in a position to kind out the dangerous stuff from the website’s monumental crush of clips.

All of that comes from a short apart in Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s scripted remarks throughout mum or dad firm Alphabet’s earnings name at the moment. He mentioned YouTube had pulled down greater than six million movies within the final quarter of 2017, after first being flagged by its “machine techniques,” and that 75 % of these movies “have been eliminated earlier than receiving a single view.”

Context: YouTube has spent the previous 12 months responding to complaints about problematic (or worse) movies on the positioning. Sometimes it has argued that offensive movies — or, at the very least, offensive movies operating alongside promoting — are a “tiny, tiny” downside; at different time,s it says it’s taking it so critically that it will have more than 10,000 people working on the problem this year.

But like Facebook, Google and YouTube execs imagine that the corporate’s scale means that it’ll in the end must depend on computer systems and synthetic intelligence to unravel its content material downside. Hence Pichai’s earnings name commentary, which is (clearly) meant to be encouraging.

The glass-half-empty argument would go one thing like this: YouTube’s large scale, mixed with its platform philosophy — let customers add no matter they need, then overview it when obligatory — means that it’ll by no means have the ability to get a whole deal with on problematic clips.

Another manner of placing it: YouTube says it intercepted some four.5 million dangerous movies earlier than anybody noticed them. But a few of its billion-plus customers noticed one other 1.5 million clips — in simply three months — that in the end wanted to be pulled off the positioning. And even when most of these clips solely generated a number of views, any considered one of them has the potential to upset a consumer, or an advertiser — or a authorities official who thinks the positioning wants extra oversight.

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