Making YouTube a Safer Place

Monday, June 22, 2009 | 4:49 PM

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As a host for other people's content, YouTube aims to be a strong platform for free expression, while respecting individual choice and protecting young people from inappropriate content and exploitation. Over the past year, we've bolstered our efforts in four major areas: (1) developing clear policies about what is and is not acceptable on the site; (2) constructing robust mechanisms to enforce these policies; (3) rolling out innovative product features that enable safe behaviour; and (4) upping our educational efforts to increase user awareness of how to stay safe on the site.

We recently completed a tour of London, Amsterdam, and Brussels to discuss these developments with lawmakers, regulators, academics, civil liberties organizations, and journalists.

During the tour, we demonstrated how we deal with troublesome content. With 20 hours of video going up each minute on YouTube, we can't preview videos to make sure they comply with our rules. Our community steps in and does a great job flagging videos they think are inappropriate. We then conduct a thorough manual review of flagged videos.

In addition, we have put in place strong user controls. Users, for example, can filter out profane language in comments to videos with a new Filter W*rds feature. Currently available only in English, Filter W*rds allows users to replace profanity, lewd language, and racial epithets with ***. Of course, the option remains of leaving comments unfiltered or hiding them altogether by clicking on the arrow beside the "Comments" heading.

While in Europe, we announced the international launch of the YouTube Safety Centre. Localised in 17 languages, the Centre features straightforward safety tips and multimedia resources from experts and prominent safety organizations to help teens and their parents learn about issues such as cyberbullying, media literacy, and hateful content. The Safety Centre can be found via a link at the bottom of any YouTube page. The new Centre makes it easier for visitors to reach our Help and Safety Tool.

Protecting young people on the web is the shared responsibility of parents and families, educators, industry, and government. At YouTube, we are doing our part by providing education and tools, and by inviting local government, safety, and media literacy organisations to add their own content to the Safety Centre. In every community in which YouTube is launched, we welcome additional partners who can make the Safety Centre even more robust. As with every product at Google, our goal is to put our users' needs first.

Posted by Victoria Grand, Head of YouTube Policy, and Scott Rubin, Sr. Communications & Public Affairs Mgr


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