Google CEO: New YouTube Restrictions Coming, We Want To ‘Really Prevent “Borderline” Content’

Google CEO: New YouTube Restrictions Coming, We Want To ‘Really Prevent “Borderline” Content’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Google’s CEO said he wants to see YouTube expand its crackdown on content.

The company’s chairman, Sundar Pichai, said he’s hoping to take Google’s model of prioritizing of “quality content” over to YouTube.

Pichai spoke with Axios’ Ina Fried, who expressed concern the tech company wasn’t taking a harder line against offensive content, pointing out a video she had seen of a “teenager who appeared to be donning Muslim garb, spewing a lot of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, homophobic hate.”

“I don’t know all the details of this specific video, but in general, look, I mean all of us, you know, none of us want harmful content on our platforms,” Pichai said. “Last quarter alone we removed 9 million videos from the platform.”

Pichai’s comments come as social media and related content is coming under political scrutiny in Washington, with some Democrats saying the tech companies are too large and need breaking up while Donald Trump and other conservatives accuse these companies of discrimination against conservative-oriented content.

The CEO then said he wants to expand YouTube’s view of what’s prohibited. 

“And so we are bringing that same notion [from Google] and approach to YouTube, so that we can rank higher quality stuff better and really prevent borderline content — content which doesn’t exactly violate policies, which need to be removed, but which can still cause harm.”

In a move Pichai acknowledged would be controversial, “fact checkers” will be brought in to monitor YouTube videos.

“The thing we are trying to do is to bring more authoritative sources and fact checks on videos, which may be controversial,” Pichai admitted. “It’s a case where we got it wrong, but that’s what we are trying to do and we are working hard to improve.”

The interview aired on Axios’ HBO show, Axios on HBO.

(Editor’s Note: Axios has updated its report to note than the interview was conducted before YouTube’s recently announced restrictions.)

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