- YouTubeCEO Susan Wojcicki recently say down for an hour-long interview with British vlogger Alfie Deyes.
- During the interview, Wojcicki echoed earlier comments from YouTube that the platform’s policies regarding “creator-on-creator” harassment would be getting revamped before the end of 2019.
- Wojcicki said YouTube has seen some “high-profile examples” that have been “problematic,” but did not directly mention the much-covered controversy in June regarding right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder and journalist Carlos Maza.
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As YouTube works on a new policy regarding “creator-on-creator” harassment, CEO Susan Wojcicki says that the platform is still struggling to figure out the line between harassment and criticism.
YouTube has been working to revamp its policies surrounding how creators can comment on each other’s content, and will release the policy update by the end of 2019, Wojcicki said in a recent interview with British vlogger Alfie Deyes. The tricky part comes when YouTube has to relay that policy to its team of 10,000 moderators, who need an “enforceable” and “understandable” set of rules to decide what constitutes harassment and what is just “free speech,” Wojcicki said.
“These are great questions and I would like to know the answers to all of them, too,” Wojcicki said in response to questions about YouTube harassment policies.
Wojcicki acknowledged that YouTube has recently taken another look at its creator-on-creator harassment policies due to “some high-profile examples” that she described as problematic. However, she did not explicitly name the incident in June that spurred fervent debate around YouTube’s free speech policies: right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder’s use of homophobic and racial slurs about Vox journalist Carlos Maza.
YouTube decided that Crowder’s videos didn’t violate its harassment policies and kept his videos online, a decision that prompted backlash from both employees inside YouTube and those in the community.
YouTube has said before that it’s working on updating its policies regarding “creator-on-creator” harassment. Chief product officer Neal Mohan said last month at VidCon that YouTube “will be updating our approach,” but did not provide details on how YouTube would be doing so.
YouTube declined to provide Business Insider with further details about its upcoming policies for this story. YouTube has been tight-lipped about what the new policy would entail, and a letter from Wojcicki to creators in April said only that the platform “will do more to discourage” harassment.
YouTube’s long-touted four “pillars” include “freedom of expression” and “freedom to belong,” and it’s unclear which one takes priority in this situation. In her sit-down interview with Deyes, Wojcicki said YouTube’s issue lies with deciding what content constitutes free speech and what constitutes harassment.
“I understand the harassment issue, and I understand that it’s really a dark and difficult part if that’s happening to a creator, and it’s not something we want to encourage,” Wojcicki said. “But the policy needs to be written in a way that creators can comment on each other and criticise each other. So the question is, how do you draw the difference between creators criticising each other and being part of this free speech, open ideas? Where do you draw that line? Where do they cross the line that it’s no longer just about ideas, but they’re criticising them as a person?”
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