Google-owned YouTube says videos that break its rules get very few views before they are taken down

San Francisco (AFP) - YouTube on Tuesday said rule-breaking videos get looked at very little before being removed by the Google-owned platform.

YouTube added “Violative View Rate” to its quarterly transparency report to indicate what percentage of views come from content that violates its policies, and said the figure was a small fraction of a percent in the final three months of last year.

“It’s a very low number,” YouTube director of trust and safety Jennifer O’Connor said while briefing journalists.

“Of course we want it to be lower, and that’s what my team works day in and day out to try to do.”

The rate derived by sampling YouTube content indicated that violating content accounted for 16 to 18 of every 10,000 views on the platform, where the biggest category for rule breaking is typically spam, O’Connor said.

YouTube did not provide a breakdown of which rules were being violated by videos involved in the calculation.

Automated systems at YouTube detect 94 percent of violating content flagged, removing 75 percent of it before a video gets 10 views, according to the streaming platform.

Internal teams at YouTube have used the VVR as a metric for their efforts since 2017, and it has fallen some 70 percent as the company has invested in technology and workers to catch unwanted videos, O’Connor said.

More than 20,000 people at Google are devoted to keeping the platform safe, she added.

Google and YouTube are among internet services that have been hammered with criticism that they have not done enough to stop the spread of misinformation and other abuses that can cause real-world harm.

Since it started releasing community guideline enforcement reports in 2018, YouTube has removed more than 83 million videos and 7 billion comments, according to the service.

The VVR is calculated by sending samplings of videos on YouTube to reviewers to determine whether they violate policies in a system O’Connor touted as statistically reliable.

“By sampling, we gain a more comprehensive view of the violative content we might not be catching with our systems,” YouTube said in a blog post.

“We believe the VVR is the best way for us to understand how harmful content impacts viewers, and to identify where we need to make improvements.”