According to YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, the future of the platform is openness and to balance that with the responsibility of protecting the community. In a blog post addressed to creators and artists, Wojcicki said YouTube is built on the premise of openness and the company will continue working on community guidelines to tackle challenges.
However, this could also mean that mainstream, controversial and offensive content may be left in the space, she added. Wojcicki is of the view that a commitment to openness is not easy, but hearing a broad range of perspectives ultimately makes the society stronger and more informed even if those views are frowned upon.
“A large part of how we protect this openness is not just guidelines that allow for diversity of speech, but the steps that we’re taking to ensure a responsible community,” she said. Most recently, the Google-owned platform concluded that users are seeing less borderline content and harmful misinformation due to its investment in policies and resources to combat hate speech and violent content. YouTube is also partnering lawmakers and civil society around the globe to limit the spread of violent extremist content online.
Wojcicki explained that working towards openness will lead to opportunity, help foster community and enables learning for not only creators but users as well. Without an open system, diverse and authentic voices have trouble breaking through, she said, adding that this goes out to small business owners, a bullied teen as well as a curious person on the net. YouTube said:
Currently, problematic content represents a fraction of 1% of the content on YouTube and the platform is working to reduce this even further.
“This very small amount has a hugely outsized impact, both in the potential harm for our users, as well as the loss of faith in the open model that has enabled the rise of your creative community,” Wojcicki said. She also said the assumptions that the team at YouTube “hesitate” to take action on problematic content for its benefits are not true.
“In fact, the cost of not taking sufficient action over the long term results in lack of trust from our users, advertisers, and our creators. We want to earn that trust,” Wojcicki said.
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Just last week, news surfaced that YouTube will be ending targeted ads on videos that are watched by children. According to Bloomberg’s sources, this comes on the back of a case by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which has fined YouTube’s parent company Google for violating child privacy laws.
To better ensure child safety, YouTube then committed to a “roadmap” and works on auto-moderation tools. In addition, YouTube also said it will be addressing feedback about reducing the discoverability of inappropriate videos, as well as fine-tuning how ads are placed on channels. The platform also disabled comments on videos with minors and allowed parental control over livestreaming by minors.