Working with govts to ensure openness of platform, protect users from harmful content: YouTube


PTI, Apr 15, 2021, 12:10 PM IST

New Delhi: YouTube is focused on working with governments to better shape regulations that allow the video streaming platform to preserve openness while protecting communities from harmful content, YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said.

The top executive noted that the platform has always had a robust set of community guidelines to protect the ecosystem of users, creators, and partners from aspects like hate speech, misinformation, and harmful content.

“…We want to work with government agencies, regulators…all over the world discussing ways that YouTube can play the role that it plays in a way that satisfies the framework that governments have… We’ve been doing that for years, for example, in India for the last 13 years and will continue to do so,” he said during a session at the Raisina Dialogue.

He added that when the company establishes its community guidelines and rules, that is done in an open manner as well in consultation with people from across the political spectrum from all parts of the world.

“We publish those guidelines clearly on our site, and we try to enforce them in a way where we’re not distinguishing between regions of the world, who the speaker is, we try to enforce them uniformly regardless of whether it’s a private citizen, head of state, in a way that’s transparent and clearly published on our platform,” the executive said.

He further emphasized that YouTube understands its responsibility as an open platform that allows sharing of diverse points of view, and it does that in a way “that builds up things like election integrity, free functioning, democratic societies, as opposed to clamping down on them”.

Mohan cited examples of how YouTube has been working on maintaining integrity on the platform during elections across the world. He explained that the platform has worked with political candidates across the political spectrum to make sure they have a presence on the platform and can share their opinions and thoughts.

YouTube had launched Fact Check Information panels ahead of the 2019 India Lok Sabha elections. Across Google and YouTube, it had also surfaced comprehensive information on contesting candidates and political parties.

He said various efforts – like bringing authoritative voices to the fore, making sure that there is reduced recommendation of misinformation and robust content policies are in place to actively pull down content harmful content – work in tandem to protect the integrity of elections and allow people to share a diversity of opinions and ideas in a “safe and protected” manner.

“…We work with regulatory bodies, political bodies to determine what the rules of the world should be, and how do we strike that balance in terms of an open diverse platform, and the frameworks that need to be in place, driven by regulatory bodies in terms of protecting users,” Mohan further said.

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