The CEO of YouTube has argued that the company remains acutely aware of its responsibilities beyond simply revenue generation.
CNN reports that Susan Wojcicki acknowledged in a New York brandcast last night that it's “critical” that the company is “on the right side of history”, adding: “Some have tried to take advantage of our services… It's incredibly important to me and to everyone at YouTube that we grow responsibly.”
Empathising the unpresented challenge faced by the company, Wojcicki explained: “There isn't a playbook for how open platforms operate at our scale.”
How much should be read into the fact that the video platform’s most scathing self-assessment came in an annual pitch to advertisers is a matter for debate.
Of the company’s attempts to tackle its ongoing struggles with problematic content, Wojcicki said that YouTube aims to have over 10,000 people working to catch “violative content” by the end of the year. She also clarified that ads running via the Google Preferred program are now assessed by humans and are “verified to meet advertiser-friendly guidelines”.
Despite ongoing assurances that it is taking the problem seriously, YouTube continues to run into controversies about ads being run alongside troublesome content. Late last month a report found that the platform is still regularly running ads for over 300 companies including Disney, Amazon, Adidas, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Hershey, The New York Times, Cisco, Hilton and Under Armour on channels whose content include white nationalism, Nazism and paedophilia.
However, there have been signs of advertisers getting back into bed with the company. Last month America’s biggest advertiser Procter & Gamble has said its brands will resume advertising on YouTube after a year away from the platform. Kellogg’s and Wendy’s were two of the big names to join YouTube on this latest brandcast, too.
P&G had previously withdrawn from the network after concerns about inappropriate content. Indeed, the company’s decision a year ago arguably sparked the beginning of the ad exodus that Google has been fighting to stem ever since.