YouTube video removals doubled during lockdown
YouTube has removed more videos than ever during the blocking period, the company says.
The second quarter of the year saw the removal of over 11 million videos, up from six million at the beginning of the year.
YouTube said it opted for “over-forcing” its automated systems when it was understaffed during the lockdown.
But that also meant that more videos were being removed by mistake.
Normally, “malicious content” would be sent to human reviewers, he said, but because of Covid-19 there were fewer reviewers working.
“One option was to downsize our technology and limit our application to only what could be managed with our reduced auditing capability,” the company said in a blog post.
The other option was to “cast a wider network so that most of the content that could potentially harm the community was quickly removed” – and he chose to go that route.
The downside, however, was that some videos that didn’t violate the policy were mistakenly removed from the system.
YouTube said it saw an increase in appeals from video creators, from 165,941 to 325,439.
The result was not unexpected: YouTube said in March that creators “could see an increase in video removals.”
Normally, it only restores about 25% of the videos that were automatically removed as a result of human review. This has now jumped to 50% of videos restored on appeal, he said.
YouTube has also put in place stricter automatic rules in areas such as “violent extremism” and “child safety”, leading to a threefold increase in video removals.
As a result, child safety has overtaken spam as the main reason for removal.
YouTube video removal
Reason for removal, April – June 2020
YouTube relies on its automated features to perform almost all of its initial removals. Between April and June, 10,849,634 videos were detected by the automated system for the first time, compared to 382,499 for ordinary users.
The rest came from a mix of “trusted flaggers”, NGOs and government agencies. Human users actually reported far more videos – more than 15.5 million over the period in question – but only a small percentage of those were eventually removed.
And three-quarters of the removed videos had 10 views or fewer.
The company also removed nearly two million entire channels in the three-month period, an insignificant increase from the previous quarter. More than 90% of these were for spam, scams or misleading.