Can 10,000 People Police YouTube?

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Like every major social medium, Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube faces hate content, fake news and sexually explicit postings. YouTube means to police these problems with over 10,000 people. With the hundreds of millions of videos at YouTube, even such a large army may not be enough.

YouTube’s CEO wrote on the company’s official blog:

In the last year, we took actions to protect our community against violent or extremist content, testing new systems to combat emerging and evolving threats. We tightened our policies on what content can appear on our platform, or earn revenue for creators. We increased our enforcement teams. And we invested in powerful new machine learning technology to scale the efforts of our human moderators to take down videos and comments that violate our policies.

Also:

We will continue the significant growth of our teams into next year, with the goal of bringing the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate our policies to over 10,000 in 2018.

Google has about 75,000 workers, so the 10,000 figure seems improbably large.

The 10,000 people get to the heart of the social media problem. It seems that because social media posts, whether it be at YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, are so numerous that no number of people can review them, have the judgement of which should be blocked and then go through the work to block them. It is akin to the problem of hacking. Hackers work from all over the world, and there are too many of them to be counted or located.

Another challenge YouTube faces is the “whack-a-mole” issue. For every piece of offending content taken down, at least one other pops ups. That makes the challenge daunting, perhaps impossible. Even 10,000 people are not enough.