Google’s YouTube video service is growing out of its teenage years, suggested CEO Susan Wojcicki at the Wired 25 Summit in San Francisco Monday. “The last 18 months, I really think (of as) our growing up years,” she said. “I think we are in a much better place, we worked really hard.”
Wired’s Peter Rubin put Wojcicki on the spot by recalling that he had searched for videos of her to prepare for the on-stage interview, which resulted in the YouTube app serving up far-right fringe conspiracy theories as well as a video calling for her to be fired. Wojcicki responded that the service was working to improve its search results. “Our goal is to be able to give you the most relevant information,” she said. “We want those top results to be right.”
YouTube had been under fire last year over allowing uploaders to make money with crude and at times abusive content. This included videos targeting children that found their way through YouTube’s filters and onto the service’s YouTube Kids app.
Earlier in 2017, YouTube was forced to respond to anti-semitic content posted by Felix Kjellberg a.k.a. PewDiePie, one of the service’s most popular and prolific creators. In response, YouTube cancelled a show it was producing with PewDiePie, and disabled advertising functionality on his channels. In response, Wojcicki promised to institute “a new approach to advertising” at the end of last year.
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On Monday, she announced that the service would soon work with additional content partners to add factual correct context to conspiracy theory videos — something the company is already doing with Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica. However, she said that the company wasn’t going to editorialize videos itself. “We don’t want to be in the business of saying: This is true, this is not true.”