YouTube, owned by data behemoth Google, is planning to ask users to share their ethnicity, sexual preferences, and gender so that it has more data with thich to develop algorithms and manipulate the way content is shown across the platform.
YouTube says this will help it in removing “unintentional bias” from its moderation systems to help it tackle “hate speech.”
Embracing intersectional ideology, YouTube wants new ways to manipulate its algorithms to change content promotion on the platform depending on the personal identity of the creator.
According to the video giant, automated moderation systems do not consider context, which it says can sometimes result in unintentional bias.
In an attempt to remove this supposed bias, YouTube plans to learn more about content creators and gain more insights on which content comes from which communities.
“For example, our systems can evaluate how videos about Black Lives Matter are performing against other content on YouTube regardless of the creator, but we’re currently not able to evaluate growth for Black beauty creators, LGBTQ+ talk show hosts, female vloggers or any other community,” the site’s vice president of product management Johanna Wright wrote in a blog post.
YouTube will launch a voluntary survey early next year aimed at collecting information from content creators. The survey will ask for gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and race. The company will then use the information to figure out how its search and content discovery systems are treating content from different communities and will adjust its secret algorithms accordingly.
Understanding that creators might be reluctant to participate in the survey for privacy reasons, Wright wrote:
“Our creators’ privacy and ability to provide consent for how their information is used is critical. In the survey, we will explain how the information will be used and how the creator controls their information. For example, the information gathered will not be used for advertising purposes, and creators will have the ability to opt-out and delete their information entirely at any time.”
Additionally, the company will seek the help of creators to help create the survey. The company says it will also seek guidance on the project from experts on civil and human rights.
“The steps we’re announcing today are part of our ongoing work to ensure that YouTube continues to be a platform where creators of all backgrounds can thrive. We appreciate the partnership of the Black, LGBTQ+ and Latinx creator communities who have consulted with us in these efforts. Thank you for sharing your perspectives with us and helping to make YouTube a better place for everyone,” the blog post concluded.
In the US, the content creators surveys are set to be available early next year.
The move follows Facebook’s controversial recent proposals that involve changing how “hate speech” rules are applied depending on the identity of those targeted.