If you have uploaded a video to YouTube lately and can’t find it, there’s a high chance it was removed. On this occasion, you don’t have a human to blame. Since the rise of COVID-19 and the mass of misinformation being circulated, YouTube is putting artificial intelligence in charge of evaluating more content.
Google, YouTube and other tech companies have implemented the WFH (work from home) initiative in recent weeks, in the wake of rising concerns about the Coronavirus. AI algorithms are taking over the evaluation of user videos. On its creator blog, representatives from YouTube explained the service in an open letter, stating that they and parent company Google is first and foremost concerned for employees.
Such a concern led to the temporary exodus of workers from the headquarters of YouTube this week in the new WFH era. Now computers are in charge of evaluating uploads much more than they were previously.
The letter from YouTube states: “Machine learning helps detect potentially harmful content and then sends it to human reviewers for assessment. As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers.”
Currently, automated systems are checking and removing content without the typical human review. A more strict and consistent evaluation system is probably not a bad thing for YouTube due to recent speculation that they are not quick enough to remove inappropriate content. AI would certainly be a more robust and systematic way of doing this.
The explanation on YouTube’s blog warns both users and creators that they are likely to see an increased amount of removals, even with cases that do not encroach on their community standards or policies. Keeping this in mind, human beings that are still on duty will review appeals from creators. The appeals process will also slow down even more than usual due to a shortage of personnel. However, regardless of the reason for removal, in these times, YouTube reviewers will not issue “strikes” on creators except when evidence points to a sincere violation of terms.
A lack of human supervision may also lead to the more cautious promotion of popular videos and livestreams. Content that has not yet been fully reviewed may not be available via search on a homepage of the suggestions and recommendation listings. YouTube have said that the implementation of these temporary policies will not have an effect on the monetization of the policies. YouTube will continue to enforce all previously stated policies on coronavirus content. The site will remove any videos from self-proclaimed-experts that urge people to avoid medical treatment or that claim unproven or harmful substances provide cures, virus protection or other health benefits.