Due to staffing reductions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube has removed a lot of videos.
YouTube took down 11.4 million videos from April through June. This is more, compared to under nine million videos in the same period in 2019.
According to Fox Business, the “shift in tactics” came after Google told employees in May about extending its work-from-home policy. They planned on doing so until the end of 2020.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said they would allow employees who needed to work on-site to return in June or July with enhanced safety measures in place. The rest would likely continue working from home, a Google spokesperson told NPR,” reported NPR in May.
These measures meant that the company “would rely more on technology than human reviewers and that videos that would normally be fine on the platform may end up being removed in error,” reported The Verge.
“When reckoning with greatly reduced human review capacity due to COVID-19, we were forced to make a choice between potential under-enforcement or potential over-enforcement,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Because responsibility is our top priority, we chose the latter — using technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers.”
The Verge explained that human moderators work from offices specifically set up for reviews. Doing such work outside a controlled environment risks “having user data — and sensitive videos — inadvertently exposed.”