Friday, August 01, 2008

You can't review everything that goes on YouTube

Whilst MP's might be complaining that the "dark side of the Internet" needs to be policed to stop children viewing offensive and disturbing material, the idea that a site like YouTube should actively filter it's content with intervention review is utterly absurd and completely impractical.

YouTube has literally millions of users. The userbase uploaded over ten hours of video every minute of everyday. In order to have a reviewal system of that content you'd have to employ literally thousands upon thousands of staff in order to be able to watch it and make the site remain viable.

Given the way revenue is generated across YouTube, and for that matter it's parent company Google, the notion that you can have an active system rather than the system currently in place where people report inappropriate content and then it is removed is just silly.

The report from MPs has cited a video of gang rape to make it's point. Apparently this video was viewed by 600 people before it was remeoved from the site. That's 600 people from a 20 million unique users per month. That's a staggering 0.003% of the monthly userbase of YouTube that saw the video.

Think about this for a second, someone who wants to watch a video of gang rape is going to find that video if they want too. It's also worth noting that the MPs are not calling for Usenet to be policed in this way and the amount of content there that is truly disgusting is immense.

On a global network like the Internet the only way to police these sort of things is to find them then delete them. The content addition rate would grind to a halt if everything had to be reviewed first. No doubt though the calls for such things will continue.

No one is denying that there is much out there that is twisted, dark, bizarre and sickening. The problem though is not something that can be solved by destorying companies by making them employ numbers of staff that would economic suicide. User generated content is policed by users.


unseen said...

Yes. See also

Al Qaeda types largely do not use YouTube, even though it's the easiest and most popular video service. This is because the videos don't last on YouTube for long; they are deleted after being flagged by other users.

anthonynorth said...

Internet freedom scares the hell out of governments. So they'll try to cripple its freedoms any way they can, regardless of how impractical or spurious.

Stoo said...

I used to think youtube could just get a bunch of poor students and pay them min wage to sit sifting through videos. Which i'm sure would be more fun that stacking shelves at a supermarket or something.

But I had no idea content came in as at high a rate as you state, so... scrub that idea.

Lola said...

anthonynorth - agreed.

Also why is it that parents cannot be trusted to stop their children viewing crap? It's got sod all to do with Government.

I have lots of children. They get policed, by me, as to what they watch. And this can range for from Some Like it Hot (two blokes deresing up as girls), through the Rocky Horror Show (various unsuitabke images including Tim Curry as the most camp transvestite ever) to Kill Bill (!) and taking in the Bond Films. Unfortunately I have never been able to cure any of them (they are all girls) of watching Big Brother.

As regards interweb it is possible to put up filters or even just to keep an eye on the little darlings.

Furthermore, when it was on the telly, I reckoned the A Team was bad as it involved lots of guns firing and no-one getting hurt, or just scratched. Much better to show the real damage done by an AK47 - it might make the loonies think a bit.

Anonymous said...

sir tim berners lee took no payment for his work on developing the idea of www. he envisaged it as being totally open access even if the rest of us might consider some users abused this freedom.

looks as though the battle is about to reopen - and in china it has to the shame of at least one isp.

the fear is that us proles get access to information that in the past always was under the control of politicians of all persuasions

maybe i am being optimistic but perhaps just perhaps www. has got too big and too wide spread for the censorship cork to go back in the bottle

Ian_QT said...

Why can't they filter the names, descriptions and keywords of videos for certain phrases (e.g. 'stab', 'rape', 'punch' etc), and single videos with those keywords out for filtering?

Wikipedia does this with usernames.

dizzy said...

Because there might be leigitmate uses of those words? Also because that won;t stop someone posting a video without keywords.

JuliaM said...

"It's also worth noting that the MPs are not calling for Usenet to be policed in this way..."

That's probably because they don't know that it exists...

"Also why is it that parents cannot be trusted to stop their children viewing crap? "

Because we seem to have outlawed personal responsibility in the UK in favour of having government protect us from ourselves. And if you think that this is just a Nu Labour initiative, the committee was made up of just as many clueless and technologically-challenged (not to mention authoritarian) Tories.

javascript:void said...

This would not be because Gordon Brown, with the help of Youtube and Guido, has been shown to all the world as a snot eating sociopath?

Dark side on the Internet my arse!

Anonymous said...

The so called rape video that 600 people viewed on youtube turned out not to be a video of rape.

I believe the woman in the video was eventually arrested on suspicion of underage sex and perverting the course of justice.