There has been a surge of hateful speech on social media sites off late and hatred and ugly trolling on YouTube tops the list. If you are an individual or a brand having to deal with hate and vitriol on Youtube, you are not alone.
Does freedom of speech equals hate? Why do people resort to online platforms, especially ones like YouTube to express hate?
Should YouTube position itself as a platform to share interesting videos, news and information OR Should they position themselves as a content agnostic platform?
Between the battle of the two, the spread of hatred is on the rise and YouTube needs to do something to keep these malicious comments at bay. Although, various platforms have designed programs to fight hatred and abuse, there has been little to no difference in the kind of volatile content that is being shared on the internet – Hate speeches, Harassments and Violent threats to name a few.
In the United States, trolling doesn’t carry criminal sanctions under federal law. However, in 2012, Arizona legislature passed a bill against trolling.
“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”
As observed by the UN Human Rights Council Specialist Rapporteur on Minority Issues ,
‘Social media platforms have also been used to disseminate hate speech content against groups, which has fueled inter-communal tensions and led, in some cases,to violent clashes among communities.’
A simple google search ‘’why are youtube comments’’ auto completes the search with the following option
- Why are youtube comments so bad
- Why are youtube comments so mean
- Why are youtube comments so stupid
Three options and none of them are positive!
YouTube’s current policy details on how they tackle hate speeches..
“Content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as: race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation/gender identity”.
Although this is generic and broad brushed, the actual steps taken by YouTube on moderating content is based on user reviews. If you scroll down on your YouTube page, you will notice a tab called ‘’Restricted mode’’ with an option to turn it off or on.The following content is in display.
- Restricted Mode hides videos that may contain inappropriate content flagged by users and other signals. No filter is 100% accurate, but it should help you avoid most inappropriate content.
- Your Restricted Mode setting will apply to this browser only.
There are no option to “View all comments” in YouTube. You simply have to click on show more to troll through the comments posted. The top comments are the ones which has the maximum number of replies. thumbs up and thumbs down has little to no effect on the display of the order. Therefore the top comments on YouTube are far more toxic and controversial compared to other social media sites.
Brands like AT&T and Verizon have joined a growing list of companies in both the US and Europe that are pulling advertising from YouTube and millions of Google-partnered websites because of the amount of hate speech available on this platform. YouTube’s policy to report hateful speech by flagging the video on YouTube or filing an abuse report is just not enough. If you are a brand on YouTube, disabling commenting option would solve the problem? Not quite! When you decide to be present on a social platform, you put yourself out there for the world to see, read, think and judge you. This is applicable for brands or individuals alike. Disabling comments on your video in YouTube makes it seem like you have something to hide. It will frustrate your viewers if they have anything positive to actually say and also reduce your engagement factor.
Here is an example.
The hate speech used by the Bodu BalaSena extremist groups not only lead to much furor online, but studies also depict how along with this increasing hate speech online, acts of physical violence against the Muslim community in particular, but also religious minorities in Sri Lanka have become more correlated, widespread and frequent.
It is clear that hate speech online on platforms like YouTube has more potential to create feelings of hatred and violence. So what do you, as a brand do?
The question is,
Why won’t YouTube and Google consider human moderators to tackle online hate?
There are plenty of reasons. It is time consuming, calls for a lot of effort and the results are not necessarily accurate.
What if technology could help improve conversations online?
Google AI Technology employs machine intelligence to develop tools that will improve conversations online. By feeding a user comment into a deep learning network, Google can detect insults and hate speech and provide a toxicity rating on a scale of 1 to 100.
Vuukle, the commenting platform for publishers has integrated this Google’s Technology into its comments plugin. Vuukle has partnered with Google to Allow Publishers to Fight Back Trolls and Haters using an API. Thousands of online publishers have already been using Vuukle to enable comments on their blogs and stories. By using this easy to install, powerful integration, YouTube will now be able to moderate their comments using technology and reduce spreading hatred online.
How does it work?
For example, if you type “you are not polite”, the toxic rating will be 8%, while “You are an idiot of the first order” will fetch a toxic rating of 90%. All this happens in real-time in the Vuukle comments widget. So commenters can see how “toxic” their comment is even before they press the submit button. The publisher can set the threshold for toxic rating at, say, 75% above which all comments are queued to a human moderator or dropped.
By doing this, you can have complete control of your brand page in YouTube. You can now moderate your content, allow readers to post their opinion, restrict those comments that are deemed toxic to manually review the selected few based on the rating you set.
With changing times, it is necessary to adapt, utilize technology to understand human behavior and therefore create systems that would help us learn to live in harmony with social media. What are your thoughts?