More than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies around the world help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.
All of them have confidentiality agreements barring Google, YouTube’s parent company, from revealing their participation to the public, a Google representative told The Daily Caller on Thursday.
A handful of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech, a European organization focused on combatting intolerance, have chosen to go public with their participation in the program, but the vast majority have stayed hidden behind the confidentiality agreements. Most groups in the program don’t want to be publicly associated with it, according to the Google spokesperson, who spoke only on background.
YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program goes back to 2012, but the program has exploded in size in recent years amid a Google push to increase regulation of the content on its platforms, which followed pressure from advertisers. Fifty of the 113 program members joined in 2017 as YouTube stepped up its content policing, YouTube public policy director Juniper Downs told a Senate committeeon Wednesday.
The third-party groups work closely with YouTube’s employees to crack down on extremist content in two ways, Downs said and a Google spokesperson confirmed. First, they are equipped with digital tools allowing them to mass flag content for review by YouTube personnel. Second, the partner groups act as guides to YouTube’s content monitors and engineers who design the algorithms policing YouTube but may lack the expertise needed to tackle a given subject.
It’s not just terrorist videos that Google is censoring. Jordan B. Peterson, a professor known for opposing political correctness, had one of his videos blocked in 28 countries earlier this month. A note sent to Peterson’s account said YouTube had “received a legal complaint” about the video and decided to block it.