President Joe Biden’s Ministry of Truth may be dead for now, but YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is still on the hunt to ban “misinformation” from her platform, and now she has turned her sights on abortion.
For years, YouTube has become a platform unfriendly to opinions that differ from Big Government and Big Corporations. The platform has often banned and/or demonetized content creators under their ever-changing “terms of service” that includes violations for “hate speech” or “misinformation.”
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wojcicki told the international lobbying organization that more needs to be done to silence online misinformation.
“We are definitely investing a huge amount to make sure that we’re fighting misinformation and there are number of different ways that we look at this. The first would be from a policy standpoint. We would look at content that we would think about in terms of being violative of our policies,” Wojcicki said.
“So if you look at Covid, for example, we came up with 10 different policies that would be violative. Like an example of that would be saying that Covid came from something than a virus. And we did see people attacking 5G equipment, for example, because they thought that it was causing Covid. So that would just be an example of a policy that we would remove,” she explained.
“So we do remove content based on those policies. We actually publish that in a transparency report,” she added.
Next, she said, “The second one would be really raising up authoritative information. So if you are dealing with a sensitive subject like news, health, science, we are gonna make sure that what we’re recommending is coming from a trusted well-known publisher that can be reliable.”
“And if you think about how Google works, it’s very similar. Like if you type in “cancer,” you type in “covid,” what you are going to get are going to be names that you recognize. They’re not going to be someone that just published a web page yesterday. So it’s very similar to how we handle that on YouTube.” she relayed.
Wojcicki then stated, “The third is making sure that we — if there is content that’s borderline content that technically meets our policy but is lower quality. That’s content that we basically will not recommend to our users. Our users could still access it, but they will not recommend it.”
“And then lastly, we’re just really careful about what we monetize. So we always want to make sure that there’s no incentive. So for example, with regard to climate change we don’t monetize any kind of climate change material. So there’s no incentive to keep publishing that material that is propagating something that is generally understood as not accurate information,” she asserted.
She then added, “Misinformation is not new to the internet. It’s been around since before — for all time, but we definitely see that there is a role for and there is risk, and that’s why we have put a lot of effort. This report that you cited, I haven’t seen that report, but there certainly are many other reports that give us a good grade there. And I think if you look at the work that we have done across the board it really shows a very significant improvement.”
“We came out with a set of data that we thought was really useful, which is how much content is violative are we not catching with our enforcement and that is about 10 to 12 videos per 100,000 views. If you look at the chart in terms of how that’s changed over time that number has come down significantly. And our plan is to continue to work on it and make sure that we continue to reduce that,” she concluded.
When asked if combating misinformation will always be a work in progress, the YouTube CEO said, “I think there’ll always be work that we have to do because there will always be incentives for people to be creating misinformation. The challenge will be to keep staying ahead of that and make sure that we are understanding what they are and the different ways that people may use to try and trick our systems and make sure that our systems are staying ahead of what’s necessary to make sure that we are managing that.”
“I think there will always be work. After all this work that we have put in this — this has been a huge initiative for us for at least five, six years. I think we’ve come a long way and I would challenge you, if you go and you look and you do a search or you look at your home page, in terms of what you’re seeing, you’re going to see content when it comes to sensitive topics, you’re going to see them coming from more authoritative sources,” she stated.
Wojcicki would later be asked what her stance is on Roe v. Wade given that a draft majority opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito circulated among the press revealing that if published it would overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that effectively legalized abortion in the United States on a federal level. If overturned, the move would send the issue of abortion back to the states allowing it to be decided at a state level.
She answered, “My stance is that women should have a choice when they become a mother, I believe that’s really important. I believe that reproductive rights are human rights, and to take away a law and a right that we’ve had for almost 50 years will be a big setback for women. But that’s my personal view.”
“Running a company that has — that really focuses on free speech we want to make sure that we’re enabling a broad set of opinions, that everyone has a right to express their point of view provided they meet our community guidelines,” she added.
Wojcicki continued, “So, this is going to be complicated legislation, as you said. People will want us to speak out on it. It’s also draft right now. And so there’s not definitive language. Once we saw it, we started to look and try to anticipate what kind of changes that would have for our business. For example, employees — like what kind of benefits would we want to offer to employees who could be in states where abortion is now longer allowed or what implications could that have for our advertising business.”
“Maybe content misinformation,” Wojcicki relayed. “There could be ways that could be spun, for example, people saying, ‘Oh. Abortion’s not allowed in this state.’ When it really is. So this has led us to realize that there’s going to be a lot of work for us to understand what this legislation is and what are the right ways for us to comply with it.”
While answering a question about how YouTube employees are reacting to the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade and other controversial issues, Wojcicki said, “Our goal, generally, is to speak up on the issues that we see really matter to our employees, and that really matter to our user base.
“And this is an issue that is going to have a dramatic implications,” she continued. “Because it’s early and it’s draft, we have spoken internally at a high level, but we are still waiting to understand what the final wording is, and what the final implications are.
“And based on what is actual real then we’ll take whatever necessary steps in terms of having to to comply with it, but also try to figure out how to make sure that we are supporting our employees, and doing what we can to interpret this in a way that makes sense for our user base,” she detailed.
Susan claiming that YouTube is a free speech platform is beyond laughable. In 2020, YouTube announced that all videos on their platform that challenged the narrative of unelected organizations such as the World Health Organization would be removed with the uploader subject to a permanent ban. Susan Wojcicki now wants to oppose a similar thought ban on the issue of abortion.
The platform has targeted multiple right-wing content creators over the years, one of the biggest names being comedian Steven Crowder who has well documented his legal procedures to keep his channel on the platform. YouTube’s copyright system has also allowed users to falsely claim videos in order to take down opinions they don’t like.
Back in March, YouTube removed a recent episode of the internet prank group NELK’s “Full Send Podcast” featuring former President Donald Trump after the episode pulled 5 million views in the first 24 hours.
YouTube said the episode was pulled for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines after Trump refused to accept that there was no election fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
The World Economic Forum has been accused of creating agendas to reshape the domestic policies of countries all over the world including the United States. On Monday, Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman called for a “recalibration” of free speech and other human rights at the WEF summit.
“We are finding ourselves in a place where we have increasing polarization everywhere, and everything feels binary when it doesn’t need to be. So I think we’re going to have to think about a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online from freedom of speech, to be free from online violence. Or the right of data protection, to the right of child dignity,” he said.
We can only wait and see what will be the latest censorship policies YouTube brings down in its never-ending fight against the truth misinformation.