On Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the platform will only allow part-time moderators to watch disturbing content for four hours as the content could severely damage their mental health. Wojcicki also mentioned “wellness benefits” for those moderators but she didn’t offer more details.
The announcement was made during the South by Southwest Interactive talk in Texas earlier this week.
YouTube, like other video streaming services, is struggling with a huge amount of user-generated content that sometimes infringes the company’s policies. YouTube uses part-time moderators to help weed out inappropriate content.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit have often used low-paid contractors to watch content that is considered extremely damaging which includes suicide, violence, murder, abuse videos.
This is a real issue and I myself have spent a lot of time looking at this content over the past year. It is really hard,
the YouTube CEO said.
Part-Time Moderators Lack Access to Mental Health Services
Federal laws require tech companies to remove illegal content. Tech companies do this through human moderators and AI. YouTube has an AI-based system to filter negative content, but human moderators are needed to confirm the topics of the videos.
Since YouTube moderators are hired as contractors, not employees, they lack access to mental health assistance or psychological counseling. The company acknowledged that four hours of watching disturbing content is still a lot, but failed to say what the previous limit was.
The problem may grow even larger in the next months, as the company promised to hire 10,000 more moderators to assist its algorithms in filtering out conspiracy theory videos, propaganda, false news, and more.
Meanwhile, YouTube announced a way to curb the presence of conspiracy theorists on the platform. Wojcicki unveiled that the company will add Wikipedia links to videos depicting conspiracy theories to keep users informed.
Image Source: YouTube