YouTube toughens rules regarding which videos get ads

YouTube toughens rules regarding which videos get ads. (screenshot)
Updated 17 January 2018
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YouTube toughens rules regarding which videos get ads

SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube on Tuesday announced ramped-up rules regarding when it will run ads with videos as it scrambled to quell concerns by brands about being paired with troublesome content.
“There’s no denying 2017 was a difficult year, with several issues affecting our community and our advertising partners,” YouTube vice president of display, video and analytics Paul Muret said in a blog post.
“The challenges we faced in 2017 have helped us make tough but necessary changes in 2018.”
Channels at YouTube will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past year to be eligible for ads, according to Muret.
Previously, channels could be eligible for ads as part of a YouTube Partner Program by racking up 10,000 views or more.
“We want to take channel size, audience engagement, and creator behavior into consideration to determine eligibility for ads,” Muret said.
YouTube will closely watch for spam, abuse flags and other signals to make sure channels are remaining within the Google-owned video-sharing platforms policies regarding content, according to the post.
Muret said that manual reviews of video will be added to a Google Preferred system that brands use to place ads with popular YouTube content to better vet videos.
YouTube is also providing advertisers simpler controls regarding where ads appear and transparency including safety checks by outside parties, according to Muret.
The changes were expected to affect “a significant number” of YouTube channels eligible to run ads.
YouTube late last year pulled 150,000 videos of children after lewd comments about them were posted by viewers and went public with a vow to greatly increase the ranks of workers focused on rooting out content violating its policies.
The moves came as YouTube strived to assure companies their ads would not appear with offensive or inappropriate videos.
“We are passionate about protecting our users, advertisers and creators and making sure YouTube is not a place that can be co-opted by bad actors,” Muret said.
“While we took several steps last year to protect advertisers from inappropriate content, we know we need to do more to ensure that their ads run alongside content that reflects their values.”


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.