Google expects YouTube video removal increase, delays

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.

Stephen Lam | Reuters

Google warned customers and users to expect some changes and a delay in responses as its employees begin to work remotely amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s a sign that coronavirus is having an impact on Google’s business outside of just affecting where its employees work.

Google said in a blog post on Monday that all of its products will be active. But, “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,” the company said.

YouTube warned there may be an increase in videos that are removed for violating Google’s policies. 

“As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers,” YouTube said in a blog post.

“This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review, so we can continue to act quickly to remove violative content and protect our ecosystem, while we have workplace protections in place.” But, YouTube said it will only issue “strikes” against videos where it has “high confidence” that the video violates its terms.

Outside YouTube, where content is mostly moderated by humans, Google warns that “human review of these decisions may be slower.” This includes support, where people may need to speak to someone to recover their Google account, or where people are requesting Google review advertisements that may violate its terms, “such as preventing COVID-19 scams, or inappropriate ad placements,” Google said.

Google on March 16 mandated the majority of its global workforce to work from home for the foreseeable future. The company has had at least two employees who were found to test positive for the virus, resulting in immediate removal of employees and disrupted workflows.

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