(AP Photo/Adrian Dennis, Pool)
As businesses are scaling back, the video provider announces more censorship likely.
With each day of our country working to contend with the Wuhan virus outbreak, more businesses are closing or rolling back their workforce. With things ahead of us resting in the unknown, mounting numbers of workers are heading home. Yet, as this reality means a severe drop in activity, the content provider YouTube has declared that, as a result, the infamous practice of removing videos based on content on its platform is likely to increase.
The cause for this is said to be a result of more of its workforce being sent home. Those jobs that are set to oversee and judge which videos may violate the service’s standards are being furloughed for the sake of virus safety, and the vetting of content will be turned over to automated systems. This is expected to broaden the practice of removing content deemed ‘’offensive’’.
With fewer people to review content, our automated systems will be stepping in to keep YouTube safe. More videos will be removed than normal during this time, including content that does not violate our Community Guidelines.
We know this will be hard for all of you.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) March 16, 2020
So much about this does not ring true. Just to begin, you have to wonder why, in the face of a societal crisis, Google (which owns YouTube) would not be looking to scale back on its practice. Not only for the sake of making things easier on the population – instead of more difficult – but with so many people who are going to become ensconced at home, there is going to be a growing desire for online entertainment, as well as more opportunity to create content for the platform.
To further add to the nonsensical aspect, the company is in possession of possibly the largest cloud storage capacity on the planet. There should be little problem having workers accessing this data remotely. Now factor in the company also has its own remote office suite programs it seems that it would be the easiest thing to have your staff continuing this work from home. Setting them up with a Chromebook and a VPN would be a rather easy process.
Considering how vital getting information out in this drastically curtailed social setting is, cutting off more content seems abjectly misguided. Add to that the less nefarious but no less serious need of many who rely upon their video traffic as a means of financial support and you begin to wonder just what might be behind this call out to expect more content removal from the platform.
The company is destabilizing its platform, setting roadblocks for its customer base, and cheapening the value of its own workers by relying upon automation and AI to do their jobs. At the very least, you have to wonder if the executives might be using this as an opportunity to measure how much of the labor it can offset to automation in the longer picture of things.