YouTube AI Censors Twice as Many Videos in Second Quarter

August 26th, 2020 3:03 PM

When faced with the choice earlier this year, YouTube chose to censor more content on its platform during its second quarter than it had in any previous quarter.

YouTube reported that it removed twice as many videos in its second quarter than its first after sending its content moderators home during the COVID-19 shutdowns earlier this year in its Community Guidelines Enforcement Report

In its second quarter, which runs from April to June, YouTube removed 11,401,696 videos over the course of the 91 days. That’s roughly 125,293 videos a day, or 5,220 videos every hour. The platform only removed 6,111,008 videos in its first quarter from January to March. That was roughly 67,153 videos a day, or 2,798 videos every hour. 

So what was the difference between those two quarters?  In its second quarter, Youtube relied more on its automated flagging system, which flagged and removed 10,849,634 videos. The rest were removed by its Trusted Flagger program to flag and remove videos. The Trusted Flagger program consists of “individuals, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are particularly effective at notifying YouTube of content that violates our Community Guidelines.” This grand group of Karens are able to flag multiple videos at once, and prioritize content they flag for review.

Currently, there is no list of YouTube’s Trusted Flaggers, but in 2018, the list did include the anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center.

The platform said that due to “reduced human capacity,” it was “forced to make a choice between potential under-enforcement or potential over-enforcement.”

YouTube chose to use its technology “to cast a wider net so that the most content that could potentially harm the community would be quickly removed from YouTube, with the knowledge that many videos would not receive a human review, and some of the videos that do not violate our policies would be removed.”

YouTube made a very deliberate choice knowing that it would remove videos that do not necessarily violate its policies. The platform could have allowed free speech to take place on the platform, but instead, it chose to unnecessarily remove millions more videos.  

YouTube has a long and complicated history with censorship on its platform. Only recently, it dropped restrictions against conservative comedian and commentator Steven Crowder after it demonetized his channel a year. In July, the platform removed a video of racial violence after Mark Dice tweeted the video.  

Conservatives are under attack. Contact YouTube at 650-253-0000 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.