YouTube is training thousands of staffers to flag content that violates its harassment policy

YouTube is training thousands of staffers to flag content that violates its harassment policy

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YouTube is teaching staffers, so-called raters, how to properly determine whether content on the platform goes against its new harassment policy, in its latest effort to crack down on hate speech on the platform.

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The story: YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan told Recode that the company is in an "incubation process," that includes training those who rate content to accurately make a distinction between the type of speech that is allowed on the platform and the one that isn't to make an appropriate determination.

“One of the goals is to make sure that the free speech and public debate that exists on YouTube platform is not stifled, but that it continues to exist,” he said of the change.

The policy: On Tuesday, YouTube announced that it's expanding the harassment policy to include implied threats and video "that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes" including race, gender expression, or sexual orientation, as we reported at LaCorte News.

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How we got here: The change comes six months after the company faced mounting scrutiny for how it handled a public complaint from Vox host Carlos Maza, who said the platform allows comedian Steven Crowder to harras him in videos. YouTube didn't remove any of Crowder's videos but demonetized his content. Following criticism, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said they would reconsider the company's harassment policy.

Maza expressed doubt in the platform's ability to enforce the expanded harassment policy. “It doesn’t fix the problem — which is not that these videos exist, but that YouTube is designed to make videos like this in perpetuity for profit. I’m skeptical about YouTube’s willingness to enforce these policies. The truth is, they should have penalized and prohibited this kind of content already.”

YouTube has already started removing content under its recently-implemented policyincluding videos from the Content Cop series and one from political commentator Paul Joseph Watson. Mohan said that some of Crowder's videos will be taken down as well.

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