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YouTube Says Computers Helped It Pull Down Millions of Objectionable Videos Last Quarter (recode.net) 152

YouTube says it has successfully trained computers to flag objectionable videos. In the last quarter of 2017, the company reportedly pulled down more than six million of these videos before any users saw them. The news comes from a brief aside in Google CEO Sundar Pichai's scripted remarks during parent company Alphabet's earnings call today. "He said YouTube had pulled down more than six million videos in the last quarter of 2017 after first being flagged by its 'machine systems,' and that 75 percent of those videos 'were removed before receiving a single view,'" reports Recode.
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YouTube Says Computers Helped It Pull Down Millions of Objectionable Videos Last Quarter

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't censuring videos like that kinda of defeat the whole point of youtube? The idea that anybody could post whatever. Now Youtube is filled with commercial businesses. Wish there was a good alternative to post my cat videos on!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This YouTube algorithm has a nasty habit of "flagging" conservatives. For example, recently it "flagged" a discussion between Dave Rubin and Thomas Sowell.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      That depends on what the content was now doesn't it? If it is copyrighted materials, previously flagged, or if it was stuff like porn, child porn, snuff videos or other content that violates their T&Cs, then why shouldn't they remove that crap? It's their service and their rules.

      I would be more interested in the false positives - where they took down videos that triggered the system because of a word, or a fair use clip or some other innocuous trigger and the amount of effort required for somebody to

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @10:31PM (#56492147) Homepage Journal
    This is AI and deep learning. It has destroyed the job market for video reviewers. I know: I used to be one.
    • Re:AI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @11:59PM (#56492405)

      You may have been downsized because of this, but don't believe all the hype. AI only helps partially. Youtube still needs human reviewers (even if they're unwilling to pay them).

      Remember what prompted the advertiser pullouts last year, youtube was still incapable of filtering very obvious unambiguous swear and racist language from the text subject lines and the text descriptions of its hosted videos. To me, that just means that they didn't care, and/or that they were unwilling to pay for that kind of manual sifting by actual human beings.

    • From your posts in other threads, I thought you thought that AI was non-existent, never emerging, impossible and unfeasible. Now you say that it works as advertised.

  • by Lordpidey ( 942444 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @10:36PM (#56492163) Homepage
    I remember not too long ago that a LOT of people were wondering why the hell their videos were banned, with something as innocuous as just a TF2 match.

    AI is not good enough for detecting hate speech yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's likely not that much.

      It's also fairly obvious that that number is inflated. If objectional videos were really being pulled down, ALL of Alex Jones infowars content would never show up.

      Rather "objectionable" , includes reaction videos and uploads/re-uploads of television footage that was live not to long ago, before ContentID gets to it. If they have successfully trained AI to be able to tell the difference between a video game and live footage, that would be an amazing breakthrough. That said, most of

      • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @12:25AM (#56492461) Homepage
        When you silence a man, you only show that you fear what he has to say.
        • I Like [pinoy-channel.org] Youtube i think every body love youtube URL="www.google.com"]google[/URL]
        • There are plenty of reasons to silence people without fearing them.

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

          When you silence a man, you only show that you fear what he has to say.

          When you tell a man to get off your lawn, you only exert control over your lawn, and the man is free to say his piece elsewhere.

          • In a corporatist system of government, corporate censorship is state censorship. When there's no meaningful space between corporate power and government power, it doesn't make much difference whether the guy silencing your dissent is Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Sessions. America most definitely has such a system. The Problem. [youtube.com]
            • Zuckerberg can prevent you from putting something on Facebook. He can't stop you from putting it elsewhere. Facebook is top dog now, but if it annoys too many people that can change. Twitter could lose top dog status even faster, since it doesn't have quite the same network effect.

              Do you realize what you'd have to do to get your say in, say, the 1960s? News was controlled by relatively few organizations. You technically could start your own paper, but it would be expensive to get it out to people, a

              • Now you're bitching, not because you can't say what you want, but because you can't say what you want on somebody else's podium. Get your own. The Daily Stormer could do it, and so can you.

                And when independent candidates run for office and can't get their message out for being shadow banned, and the corporatist candidates are always the number one trending subject, you'll be there to finger wag for not bothering to set up their own world-class content distribution system first.

                Rules for thee, not for me. Such are the excuses of an authoritarian.

                • Any halfway competent campaign will check to see how the message is getting out, so shadow bans won't work. (If the campaign's incompetent enough to not do that, I don't want that candidate in office.) At that point, there are laws about political campaigns that come into play, and things get more complicated. (I don't know how complicated; I'm not a lawyer.)

                  I also don't see what you mean by "rules for thee, not for me", since I've been consistent on this subject and haven't mentioned particular group

                • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

                  Rules for thee, not for me. Such are the excuses of an authoritarian.

                  Yet that is exactly what you advocate. You want to force privately held businesses to host and distribute messages that they do not want to carry.

                  Will you host and distribute messages that you do not want to carry? Because I guarantee that I can come up with a bunch of them and make you suffer for the offer.

                  • If privately held businesses are going to operate under the assumption of acting as a common carrier, then that is exactly how they shall operate. First amendment rights shall not be abdicated to the whims of silicon valley executives under the pretense of hosting an impartial platform. Arbitrary enforcement of 'community standards', algorithm changes to suppress certain individuals but promote the approved messages of others, and squashing 'harmful' ideas is just another form of authoritarianism.
                    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

                      If privately held businesses are going to operate under the assumption of acting as a common carrier, then that is exactly how they shall operate.

                      And if they don't (because they don't)? Edge services operate under a Communications Decency Act immunity -- not as a common carrier, which is a status that only applies to telecommunications providers under the Communications Act of 1934. Therefore they can operate precisely how they wish.

                      47 U.S.C. 230(c) [cornell.edu]
                      Civil liability - No provider or user of an interactive c

                    • Again, edge providers are not the government [wikipedia.org]. Under your apparent definition, you are equally authoritarian -- you want to force privately held businesses to host and distribute messages that they do not want to carry because you, an authority, dictate so to them.

                      I should be so thankful that an internet lawyer showed up to put me in my rightful place for daring to even question my corporate better's ability to decide and influence the nature of political discourse in modern society.

                      How silly to think that when such 'private businesses' handle, process and regulate the speech between hundreds of millions of individuals in a country, and become the authority of who will be allowed to participate, that the line between it and government could become blurred.

                      Since y

                    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

                      I should be so thankful that an internet lawyer showed up to put me in my rightful place for daring to even question my corporate better's ability to decide and influence the nature of political discourse in modern society.

                      Actual internet lawyer. And you should be.

                      How silly to think that when such 'private businesses' handle, process and regulate the speech between hundreds of millions of individuals in a country, and become the authority of who will be allowed to participate, that the line between it and

            • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

              When there's no meaningful space between corporate power and government power, it doesn't make much difference whether the guy silencing your dissent is Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Sessions. America most definitely has such a system.

              They very fact that you could post this drivel here shows that we do not have such a system.

              No meaningful space between corporate power and government power? Is Zuckerberg preventing you from posting everywhere? Can Zuckerberg jail you?

              Not even close.

              • It just shows that Slashdot is too small and meaningless to bother with shadowbans. Like it or not, Facebook/Twitter/Youtube are today's public square. Instead of being publicly owned, they are privately owned, and their owners are banning conservatives all over. This is why they need to be nationalized, for the protection of our country. We can't have a discussion when one side is silenced.

                When Right wingers do not like how the community is managed, they build the alternative one. When Left wingers do

                • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

                  It just shows that Slashdot is too small and meaningless to bother with shadowbans. Like it or not, Facebook/Twitter/Youtube are today's public square. Instead of being publicly owned, they are privately owned, and their owners are banning conservatives all over. This is why they need to be nationalized, for the protection of our country. We can't have a discussion when one side is silenced.

                  How very conservative of you... by which I mean how painfully plainly you seek to utterly overturn conservative princi

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2018 @11:34PM (#56492335)

      "Hate speech".

      I bet you would have been the type to have called the Founding Fathers hate speeches for their anti-British stance back in the day. I understand Youtube is a private company with no reason to uphold anybody's free speech, and that I don't mind... but people like you would give it away that right wholesale without a fight everywhere and help barricade any companies who do want to provide it, and then wonder why in 20 years down the road the ruling political elites have no fear not representing any of your interests.

      AI is certainly already good enough at replacing your shilling with their own.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      AI is not good enough for detecting hate speech yet.

      That would a feat. As far as I'm aware, humans can't do that reliably either.

    • Comment removed based on user account deletion
    • It never will be because what is "hate speech" has yet to be clearly defined.
  • by technosaurus ( 1704630 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @10:41PM (#56492187)
    Many of the real world science shows get shut down by this crap: King of Random, Cody's Lab, Demolition Ranch to name a few. One of Cody's takedowns was how to make (low quality) gunpowder over the course of a year using your urine. Who can keep up with their terms of use anyhow. Too bad Youtube doesn't spend as much effort on the UI (try and search the comments sometime).
    • And don't forget The Slingshot Channel, ZNA productions, and basically all of the popular gun channels. (Though KoR deserves every bit of punishment he gets imo)
  • Mostly this means Youtube is a Conservative-Libertarian-TeaParty-Trump hater and an RIAA/MPAA ho and bot network.
  • So, if Google/YouTube had some point of view, or points of view, that they wished to either promote or demote... how do we know if they are protecting us or harming us? I do data science sorts of things as part of my job. I know that very, very minor tweaks to algorithms provide quite different results.

    Well, as long as they haven't nuked my '80s retro videos, then I'm good. Ah, Leah!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

      So, if Google/YouTube had some point of view, or points of view, that they wished to either promote or demote... how do we know if they are protecting us or harming us? I do data science sorts of things as part of my job. I know that very, very minor tweaks to algorithms provide quite different results.

      Well, as long as they haven't nuked my '80s retro videos, then I'm good. Ah, Leah!

      It's quite possible now to place individuals and groups into internet "algorithm ghettos". Like the Nazis did to Jews in Poland by crowding them into a section of the city and erecting tall walls both to prevent escape and so the people outside the walls didn't see what went on inside, companies like Google, Facebook, and others can place individuals and groups into a digital algorithm ghetto where what they can access is controlled & filtered and what they publish/post/send can be filtered or blocked s

      • That's crazy paranoid. Especially them somehow overhearing your call (I guess if you send a message through FB/Google, it's possible, but still seems unlikely). I don't know why you don't just use a phone. if you're worried about FB/Google as opposed to their messengers. Many phones exist that have no connection to FB/Google.

        What is true is that FB/Google put you in bubbles and try to show you what they think you want to see. But that's been happening for a while.

        • That's crazy paranoid.

          Just as crazy paranoid as the idea that US TLAs were slurping up and storing every bit of phone & web traffic they could get their paws on was not too long ago. So was the idea of local police mass-spying on cellphone conversations and using what they learn to perform "parallel construction" to " legally find" evidence of a crime. That used to be tinfoil-hat territory as well.

          Strat

          • Huh, the US (and other) intelligence services slurping up data has been known for at least a decade. The local police mass-spying on cellphones is still a technical possibility that hasn't yet been demonstrated. And there's no technical way that Google/FB have your phone tapped unless you install their apps.

            The bubbles are a real think. Shadowbans are a real thing (but mostly on twitter/reddit, I don't think FB/Google does it). But the idea that they can overhear your phone calls is not.

            • Huh, the US (and other) intelligence services slurping up data has been known for at least a decade.

              Nope, it was known since the revelations regarding the "secret" locked rooms at the major backbone provider facilities.

              That's when people were called conspiracy-nutcases for trying to tell people what the TLAs were up to. It wasn't until Snowden that they stopped calling such people paranoid. Ten years is not long unless you are very young.

              The local police mass-spying on cellphones is still a technical possibility that hasn't yet been demonstrated.

              Well, except for all those court cases where "Stingray" evidence was dropped from the case when defense lawyers attempted through the discovery process to learn exactly h

              • Please, since the Patriot act it was clear that mass surveillance was happening. There were public records. I'm not responsible for what people refuse to accept. (See also, FB wasn't secretly invading people's privacy, they were willing to accept it)

                Stingrays are in use, but it's not clear they are used dragnet style vs. as a wiretap (without the fuss of a court order that would make it legal.)

                Umm... FB/Google aren't buying access to your phone calls. That's crazy. Now, if you install their spyware^W ap

      • Not as long as we've still got some semblance of Net Neutrality, and a reasonable DNS system, that can't happen. If you can go to an arbitrary web address, nobody can control what you can see. If the Daily Stormer can get a host, you can. Google and Facebook can control only what you do on their sites.

    • Re: Who Judges?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Reverend Green ( 4973045 ) on Monday April 23, 2018 @11:59PM (#56492403)

      The answer is obvious: Big Brother Google loves us all. If Google wants to enserf us, it's *for our own good*.

  • If YouTube wants to be less interesting, it's their perogative to do so. My seven year old nephew watches a lot of it. It's safer for him to do so now. Also, YouTube is becoming something he will outgrow in a few years. Much the same way Facebook is where your aunt can keep up with what you're doing.

    • Interesting theory. Infantalize the content, and you end up with only infants as your audience. Sure hope you're right!

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @02:19AM (#56492705) Homepage

      Typical major tech firm failure. That market dominance, rushes to their genitals and they have delusions of total power and promptly start pissing off their customers, only to build up hate and dissension and then wham, they start loosing customers in droves and simply can not get them back. Alta Vista, MYspace, MSN, Yahoo, Lotus Software, all the same end, market dominance, engorged genitals, no blood to the brain, ego dominates over common sense and customer resistance builds whilst arrogance and ego demands it be ignored, until it is too late.

      It looks like https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22s... [duckduckgo.com] (two for one, heh heh) are the new upcomers, that will dethrone the arrogant egoists. Maps will be the next target, as will Android or oddly enough Android might well fork in an odd way as Google try to force their own proprietary core.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Facebook isn't going to be replaced by shitty open sores crap - even Google couldn't put a dent in Facebook. Facebook is not fucking MySpace.

        YouTube isn't going to be replaced by some dumbass with a Linode VPS. YouTube makes no money, and schmuck number fifty two doesn't have Google's bankroll to eat that loss.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        The thing with Android is that it is pre-installed. The few geeks that use something else is minimal.
        This is why Android even exists. Because it is pre-installed. The majority of the people do not bother to install a different OS. They do not bother to install a different radioin their car. They buy something and if it works well enough, they use it, regardless.

        So no, Android will go away if it wil not be pre-installed anymore. At least not in any meaningfull way.

        This is also the reason why the Linux Deskto

  • Yet Friday by Rebecca Black still exists..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Then, earlier this week, I was invited to a YouTube 'Hangout on air' seminar about monetization, where they basically told us: Just no more 'controversial' content. No more such videos, no more tags, even the title of a video should not contain any word that may look suspicious, because 'the bots are not that smart,'" Sprave told me. "That was enough. I decided to do something."

    Quote from Jorg sprave, relating to the issues youtube has had removing arbitrary videos. Basically they have no idea what to do,

    • What I dont understand, is that the solution is obvious. Do what every other advertising platform does.

      On every other advertising platform, such as a network TV station, the advertisers choose exactly what shows and time-slots their ads are placed on.

      This can of course be fully automated. Put the channel address in one field, times of day in another....
  • googliness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reverend Green ( 4973045 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @12:05AM (#56492419)

    Capitalist stooges sure are proud of mass censorship.

  • I realize blockchain is a meme and everybody hates bitcoin cuz it's killing all the whales or some shit but, fuck man, we need something. This shit is getting out of hand. Maybe I'm getting older (I am) and when you get older, you get more conservative (I haven't but everybody born after me thinks I have), but we're headed toward some fucked up techno-authoritarian-autocratic bullshit that a whole lot of blood is eventually going to have to be spilled to get us out of.

    Now tell me how Alphabet is private and

  • And what do you suppose the training rules were that Youtube used to train its AI 'reviewers' with? I am going to bet there was more than a little politics in the mix

  • Town Square (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Tuesday April 24, 2018 @09:18AM (#56493677)

    The problem is that YouTube has become the town square for video.

    Sure, anyone is free to build their own. The problem is, though, that metaphorically speaking, the only land available is out near the town dump.

    When YouTube was assuming this role, they were far more benign to viewpoints that differed from their own. But now that they have a lock on internet video, they know they can control the content. They wrap it up in removing "objectionable" video - but they keep changing the standards of "objectionable". With disturbing increading frequency, "objectionable" is defined to include religious views held by people for thousands of years, exercise of constitutional rights, and advocacy for political positions and candidates that do not meet with the approval of the Alphabet ownership.

    • YouTube became the town square. It doesn't have to remain the town square. Land near the dump doesn't have to stay there.

      If YouTube becomes objectionable, people will establish other forums. If there isn't a GunTube or something whose site is being circulated among NRA members, there will be soon. That's a few million people at least partly disengaging from YouTube. If YouTube drives enough people to other venues, it will lose dominant position, and it's possible to crash real fast at that point.

      • Although we'd like to think that all real estate on the 'net is equal, it isn't.

        Sure, one could start up guntube, or foodtube, or whatever. But right now, YouTube the one-stop-shopping for all tubes. They are at the center of the proverbial town. Your guntube and foodtube have to be placed on the outskirts. Which means at best, there will be a delay of months/years before the audience of speaking in the town square can be acquired, and at worst, it never will.

        Again, remember: YouTube only started being

        • Like all free market solutions, it's imperfect. The question is whether specific government regulation is worse than letting the free market solve things. I tend to think government regulation is better more often than some on this site, but in this case some sort of "fairness doctrine" seems untenable. The "fairness doctrine" was imposed as a condition of using the EM spectrum, which was and is considered public property administered by the government.

  • Fascinating! Tell me more about these ... "computers". When did you start using them at YouTube?
  • Totally true, if "Objectionable Videos" = "Mainstream conservative political opinion".

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