YouTube deleted more than 58 million videos and 224 million comments that it labeled problem content in Q3

  • YouTube took down more than 58 million videos and 224 million comments during the third quarter in an effort to demonstrate progress in suppressing problem content.
  • Government officials have been pressuring social media services to quickly identify and remove extremist and hateful content that critics say incites violence.
  • During September, 90% of the nearly 10,400 videos removed for violent extremism or 279,600 videos removed for child safety issues received fewer than 10 views, according to YouTube.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — YouTube took down more than 58 million videos and 224 million comments during the third quarter based on violations of its policies, the unit of Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday in an effort to demonstrate progress in suppressing problem content.

Government officials and interest groups in the United States, Europe, and Asia have been pressuring YouTube, Facebook Inc, and other social media services to quickly identify and remove extremist and hateful content that critics have said incite violence.

The European Union has proposed online services should face steep fines unless they remove extremist material within one hour of a government order to do so.

Silhouettes of users are seen next to a screen projection of the Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.
Dado Ruvic/Reuters

An official at India's Ministry of Home Affairs speaking on the condition of anonymity on Thursday said social media firms had agreed to tackle authorities' requests to remove objectionable content within 36 hours.

This year, YouTube began issuing quarterly reports about its enforcement efforts.

As with past quarters, most of the removed content was spam, YouTube said.

Automated detection tools help YouTube quickly identify spam, extremist content, and nudity. During September, 90% of the nearly 10,400 videos removed for violent extremism or 279,600 videos removed for child safety issues received fewer than 10 views, according to YouTube.

But YouTube faces a bigger challenge with material promoting hateful rhetoric and dangerous behavior.

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Automated detection technologies for those policies are relatively new and less efficient, so YouTube relies on users to report potentially problematic videos or comments. This means that the content may be viewed widely before being removed.

Google added thousands of moderators this year, expanding to more than 10,000, in hopes of reviewing user reports faster. YouTube declined to comment on growth plans for 2019.

It has described pre-screening every video as unfeasible.

The third-quarter removal data for the first time revealed the number of YouTube accounts Google disabled for either having three policy violations in 90 days or committing what the company found to be an egregious violation, such as uploading child pornography.

YouTube removed about 1.67 million channels and all of the 50.2 million videos that were available from them.

Nearly 80% of the channel takedowns related to spam uploads, YouTube said. About 13% concerned nudity, and 4.5% child safety.

YouTube said users post billions of comments each quarter. It declined to disclose the overall number of accounts that have uploaded videos, but said removals were also a small fraction.

In addition, about 7.8 million videos were removed individually for policy violations, in line with the previous quarter.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in Mumbai; Editing by David Gregorio

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