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Vanishing YouTube videos: Google expects AI errors as coronavirus empties offices

  • Published at 04:28 am March 17th, 2020
Google and YouTube
The Google and YouTube logos are seen at the entrance to the Google offices in Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2019 AFP

Twitter Inc on Monday said it too would be increasing usage of similar automation

YouTube could see a jump in videos erroneously taken down for content policy violations as the company relies more on automated software during the coronavirus pandemic, Alphabet Inc's Google warned on Monday.

Google said in a blog post that to reduce the need for people to come into its offices, YouTube and other business divisions are temporarily relying more on artificial intelligence and automated tools to identify problematic content. Such software is not always as accurate as humans, which lead to errors, the company said.

And "turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower," the blog post added.

Twitter Inc on Monday said it too would be increasing usage of similar automation, but that it would not ban any users based solely on automated enforcement because of accuracy concerns.

Facebook Inc did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. It drew public criticism last week for asking policy enforcers to continue coming to work because it lacks secure technology for moderation to be conducted remotely.

The trio of Silicon Valley internet services giants, like many companies across the world, have asked employees and contractors to work from home if possible, aiming to slow the spread of coronavirus. Mass gatherings such as sports, cultural and religious events have been canceled globally to combat the fast-spreading respiratory disease.

Google said human review of automated policy decisions also would be slower for other products and indicated that phone support would be limited.

Content rules cover submissions such as ad campaigns running on the Google ad network, apps uploaded to the Google Play store and business reviews posted to Google Maps.

"Some users, advertisers, developers and publishers may experience delays in some support response times for non-critical services, which will now be supported primarily through our chat, email, and self-service channels," Google said.

Google's content review operations span several countries, including the United States, India, Singapore and Ireland. 

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