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YouTube reveals scale of hate speech on the platform

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 6: Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. A pro-Trump mob later stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Five people died as a result. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

YouTube has confirmed the prevalence of rule-breaking videos on its platform for the first time.

The Google-owned video platform issued a disclosure this week that confirms that about 1.6 million views on YouTube out of every 1 billion are of a video that violates its content policies. This is what YouTube refers to as the ‘violative view rate’ (VVR).

YouTube said that the VVR has dropped by 70% since it first started tracking it in Q4 2017, and that this demonstrates its progress in stopping videos containing hate speech from reaching viral status. 

As per Reuters, YouTube product director Jennifer O’Connor said that the data “continues to hold us accountable” and said that the platform removed nearly 171,000 channels for hate speech in Q4 2020.

Over the past 12 months, YouTube has implemented strict rules against videos which fuel Covid scepticism and purport the myth that Joe Biden won the 2020 election by illegitimate means. 

Critics however have said that YouTube has not gone far enough, with extremist far-right content creators such as Steven Crowder and Nick Fuentes (both now banned) being directly tied to the white nationalist attack on the US Capitol in January.

Tags: Google, YouTube