YouTube has an elite group that hunts and kills content


Most average, everyday YouTube viewers are only able to flag videos for inappropriate content on an individual basis. But it turns out a growing group of "super flaggers" receive a powerful bonus privilege: they're able to flag up to 20 videos at once for an expedited screening process. A report from The Financial Times last week revealed that British authorities are among these super flaggers, and they're constantly scouring the video site for extremist propaganda. Today The Wall Street Journal went into deeper detail on the program, though it turns out governments play a smaller role than you might think.

Roughly 200 people and organizations are included in the pool of trusted flaggers, the Journal says, and less than 10 of those slots are filled by government agencies. Rather, the vast majority are "individuals who spend a lot of time flagging videos that may violate YouTube’s community guidelines." Google is essentially granting extra power to users that have already shown a commitment to policing the site for clips that run up against the rules. "We have developed an invite-only program that gives users who flag videos regularly tools to flag content at scale," the company told The Financial Times. YouTube's own employees review flagged content 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over 90 percent of videos that catch the attention of super flaggers are either deleted or given new age restrictions

And that power shouldn't be underestimated: more often than not, flags from participants spell doom for videos that receive them. The Journal says over 90 percent are either removed or given new age restrictions — YouTube's preferred method for dealing with unsavory videos that don't break its guidelines outright. That's reportedly far higher than the hit rate when looking at flags from the general public. Above all else, Google emphasizes that it holds sole discretion when it comes to deciding whether videos stay or go. Courts can also make the call though, much to the company's frustration.

The Verge
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