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YouTube warns of ‘increased video removals’ as it further automates amid COVID-19

/ 05:13 PM March 17, 2020
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YouTube warned users and content creators that there will be “increased video removals” as it shifts to rely on automated systems more after limiting its workforce amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The video streaming platform had already been using both manpower and technology to take down videos that violate its guidelines, as per YouTube’s announcement yesterday, March 16. Machine learning helps detect potentially harmful videos, then sends these to human reviewers for assessment.

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“As the coronavirus response evolves, we are taking the steps needed to prioritize the well-being of our employees, our extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing in-office staffing in certain sites,” YouTube stated.

As they limit their workforce due to the virus, however, the automated systems will be able to remove videos without human review, even if some videos have no violations.

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“As we do this, users and creators may see increased video removals, including some videos that may not violate policies,” the announcement read. “We won’t issue strikes on this content except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative.”

“If creators think that their content was removed in error, they can appeal the decision and our teams will take a look,” it added. But YouTube clarified that response to such appeals may also be delayed due to limited workforce.

The video streaming platform said the decision follows parent company Google’s announcement — that limiting its workforce is part of safety precautions against the spread of the virus.

“We will temporarily be increasing our reliance on automated systems given this unique situation, to reduce the need for people to come into the office,” Google’s announcement on the same day read. “Our goal is to continue to act quickly to remove content that violates our community guidelines and policies.”

Fight against COVID-19

Other than moving to protect its employees from COVID-19, YouTube also announced that it is using the platform to direct users to “authoritative sources of news and information” such as the World Health Organization, and  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It remains our top priority to provide information to users in a responsible way,” YouTube said in a statement on March 11. “From the very beginning of this outbreak, we’ve worked to prevent misinformation associated with the spread of the virus.”

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YouTube will remove videos “that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits.”

“Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we’ll continue to make sure YouTube delivers accurate information for our users,” the announcement read.

There are 167,511 recorded COVID-19 cases worldwide, while 6,606 people have died, as of yesterday. The disease currently has a mortality rate of 3.94%. JB

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TOPICS: coronavirus, COVID-19, NCOV update, novel coronavirus, Youtube
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