Vanishing YouTube videos: Google expects AI errors as coronavirus empties offices

Technology

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – YouTube could see a jump in videos erroneously taken down for content policy violations as the company relies more on automated software during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Alphabet Inc’s Google warned on Monday.

Google said in a blog post that to reduce the need for people to come into its offices, YouTube and other business divisions are temporarily relying more on artificial intelligence and automated tools to identify problematic content. Such software is not always as accurate as humans, which lead to errors, the company said.

And “turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower,” the blog post added.

Google, like many companies across the world, has asked employees and contractors to work from home if possible, aiming to slow the spread of coronavirus. Mass gatherings such as sports, cultural and religious events have been canceled across the world to combat the fast-spreading respiratory disease.

Google said human review of automated policy decisions also would be slower for other products and indicated that phone support would be limited. Content rules cover submissions such as ad campaigns running on the Google ad network, apps uploaded to the Google Play store and business reviews posted to Google Maps.

“Some users, advertisers, developers and publishers may experience delays in some support response times for non-critical services, which will now be supported primarily through our chat, email, and self-service channels,” Google said.

Google’s content review operations span several countries, including the United States, India, Singapore and Ireland.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by David Gregorio

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