×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube CEO Promises ‘New Approach to Advertising’ Over Abusive Video Backlash

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki promised to crack down on bad actors uploading abusive videos to the Google-owned video sharing site in two blog posts published late Monday. Protecting both YouTube viewers as well as advertisers from exploitative content would require “a new approach to advertising on YouTube,” she said.

Wojcicki’s public statements come after a massive backlash against inappropriate videos targeting young viewers, and often featuring children in abusive situations, as well as comments from predators targeting young viewers on the platform.

About a month ago, reports first surfaced about bizarre and exploitative videos that made use of popular children’s characters and often abused tags in order to surface on YouTube’s Kids app and slip through age restrictions filters. Some of the videos highlighted also featured underage children in suggestive situations, and attracted comments from sexual predators.

YouTube responded by removing channels highlighted in reports, but advertisers nonetheless started to  withhold their budgets from the video service. On Monday, Wojcicki said that Google had plans to grow the team of people to address content policy violations to more than 10,000 next year.

She also touted YouTube’s success in taking down videos from violent extremists, saying that the service had removed 150,000 such videos since June alone. Machine learning was playing a key role in identifying and removing such content, Wojcicki said: “Since we started using machine learning to flag violent and extremist content in June, the technology has reviewed and flagged content that would have taken 180,000 people working 40 hours a week to assess.”

YouTube now wants to use these same technologies, as well as human reviews, to also clamp down on exploitative and otherwise inappropriate content, she said: “Because we have seen these positive results, we have begun training machine-learning technology across other challenging content areas, including child safety and hate speech.”

However, Wojcicki also argued that it wasn’t enough to just take down many more videos. Instead, she promised a more proactive review process to determine which channels would be eligible to carry advertising.

“We are planning to apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should,” Wojcicki said. “This will also help vetted creators see more stability around their revenue. It’s important we get this right for both advertisers and creators, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking with both to hone this approach.”

YouTube has faced backlash over the distribution and monetization of inappropriate content multiple times this year, something that Wojcicki acknowledged by saying that it had been “a difficult year.” However, company executives have in the past argued that backlash from advertisers over brand safety had not had a significant impact in Google’s bottom line. It will be interesting to see whether a more proactive review of all advertisers will change that.

More Digital

  • Vice Media

    APOS: Tencent Video, Vice Media Hatch Premium Youth Series for China

    China’s Tencent Video and global studio Vice Media have joined forces to create a premium youth series exploring hype culture. The eight-part series, with episodes of 25 minutes, will explore a generation obsessed with finding the next big thing. The series to be produced by Vice Studios is earmarked for a late 2019 release through [...]

  • Avengers EndGame Trailer

    ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Marvel claims the top spot in spending with “Avengers: Endgame.” Ads placed for the superhero film had an estimated media value of $6.28 million through Sunday for 927 national ad airings on 39 networks. (Spend figures [...]

  • Co-Editor-In-Chief of Variety, Andrew Wallenstein and

    10 Things We Learned at Variety’s Silicon Valleywood Summit

    Variety’s first-ever Silicon Valley conference, presented by PwC, didn’t just bring together the worlds of technology and entertainment, it also provided plenty of insights into the strategies of market leaders, creators and senior executives in this space. Here are 10 key lessons from the event, which was held at the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in [...]

  • Korea's JTBC Signs up as Iflix

    APOS: Korea's JTBC Signs up as Iflix Investor and Content Partner

    South Korea’s JTBC Content Hub has become a strategic investor in Iflix, the South East Asia-based video streaming platform. Formed only in 2011, JTBC has rapidly become one of Korea’s most influential broadcasters, with a mix of news, creative dramas and entertainment shows. Its hit dramas include “SKY Castle,” “Misty,” and “Something in the Rain.” [...]

  • Twitter Jack Dorsey

    Trump Meets With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Complaining of Bias

    WASHINGTON — Less than 12 hours after complaining that Twitter doesn’t “treat me well as a Republican,” President Trump met with the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, and indicated that they would be “keeping an open dialogue.” “Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and [...]

  • Wanda Sykes Silicon Valleywood

    Wanda Sykes on Doing Business With Netflix: 'They Moved That Comma'

    MENLO PARK, Calif. — Wanda Sykes wears a lot of hats as a comedian, writer, producer and entrepreneur, and that gives her a keen sense of the ever-growing content marketplace. She also has a very clear understanding of what she’s worth in dollars and cents, as she shared Tuesday in her Q&A at Variety’s Silicon [...]

  • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel

    Snapchat Gains 4 Million Users in Q1 as Snap Beats Earnings Estimates

    Snap topped Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines in the first quarter of 2019 — and the still-unprofitable company managed to show an uptick in Snapchat users for the first time in a year. Revenue for the quarter was $320 million, up 39% year over year, while it narrowed its net loss [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content