YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has marked the video sharing platform’s 15th birthday by reiterating the site’s commitment to removing content, reducing recommendations to content that doesn’t break any rules, and boosting “authoritative voices,” legacy media outlets that get preferential treatment in YouTube’s algorithms at the expense of the independent creators who have helped build the site during these 15 years.
“These videos entertained us, but they also showed there was something very human about connecting through online video. While traditional media often showed polished and perfected versions of life, this medium was different; it had a raw, honest, and authentic feel.”
She then compared these early days with YouTube as it is today – a platform which is working with traditional media companies to extend their audiences and consistently introducing unpopular policy changes that harm the creator community.
Wojcicki wrote that “responsibility” is her number one focus and that fulfilling this responsibility involved removing 8.7 million videos from the site in Q3 2019, raising up “authoritative voices” in search and recommendations for “news and other types of sensitive information,” and reducing recommendations of “borderline content” (content which “brushes up against” YouTube’s policies but doesn’t violate them).
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Specifically, Wojcicki described how YouTube had reduced the watchtime of borderline content from non-subscribed recommendations in the US by more than 70% and how similar measures continue to be rolled out in other countries.
Wojcicki also highlighted the 50+ policy changes YouTube has made over the last two years – many of which have proved controversial with creators and lead to the demonetization or removal of popular videos.
These policies include:
- YouTube’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) changes: These changes were introduced in January and have wiped out the income of many creators.
- YouTube’s updated harassment policy: This policy was introduced in December 2019, led to the removal of several popular comedy videos, and was slammed by YouTube’s biggest solo creator PewDiePie for slashing out comedy and edgy content on the site.
- YouTube’s new hate speech rules: These rules were introduced in June 2019 and have led to mass demonetizationand video removals on the site. They were also used today, on YouTube’s 15th birthday, to remove the channel of Nick Fuentes.
Wojcicki finished the post by suggesting that creators can expect more of the same in the run up to the 2020 US presidential election: “As the U.S. presidential election approaches, we will continue to balance openness with responsibility by ensuring that YouTube is a reliable source for information. Our efforts include raising up authoritative election news and removing bad actors and misleading content.”