Google to Hire Thousands More Moderators After Outcry Over Child Abuse Videos, Violent Content

Google is hiring thousands of new moderators after facing widespread criticism for allowing child abuse videos and other violent and offensive content to flourish on YouTube.

YouTube’s owner announced on Monday that next year it would expand its total workforce to more than 10,000 people responsible for reviewing content that could violate its policies. The news from YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, followed a steady stream of negative press surrounding the site’s role in spreading harassing videosmisinformationhate speech and content that is harmful to children.

Wojcicki said that in addition to an increase in human moderators, YouTube is continuing to develop advanced machine-learning technology to automatically flag problematic content for removal. The company said its new efforts to protect children from dangerous and abusive content and block hate speech on the site were modeled after the company’s ongoing work to fight violent extremist content.

“Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content,” the CEO wrote in a blogpost, saying that moderators have manually reviewed nearly 2m videos for violent extremist content since June, helping train machine-learning systems to identify similar footage in the future.

In recent weeks, YouTube has used machine learning technology to help human moderators find and shut down hundreds of accounts and hundreds of thousands of comments, according to Wojcicki.

YouTube faced heightened scrutiny last month in the wake of reports that it was allowing violent content to slip past the YouTube Kids filter, which is supposed to block any content that is not appropriate to young users. Some parents recently discovered that YouTube Kids was allowing children to see videos with familiar characters in violent or lewd scenarios, along with nursery rhymes mixed with disturbing imagery, according to the New York Times.

Other reports uncovered “verified” channels featuring child exploitation videos, including viral footage of screaming children being mock-tortured and webcams of young girls in revealing clothing.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Sam Levin