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brand safety

YouTube: We’re Hiring 10,000 People To Protect Users And Uphold Brand Safety

Social Media Week

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Language and the Machine

On the heels of growing concerns over inappropriate content targeted at children and overall brand safety issues, YouTube is beefing up its human moderation efforts in 2018. In a new blog post, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki outlines her plans to fight against content that exploits the mission and purposes of its platform.

One of the core strategies is to up the number of people reviewing content to 10,000, in addition to frequently engaging and collaborating with those outside of the YouTube “bubble” to ensure the platform is properly addressing the maturation of AI and automated content as it pertains to how people experience content on the web.

“Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content,” Wojcicki said. “At the same time, we are expanding the network of academics, industry groups, and subject matter experts who we can learn from and support to help us better understand emerging issues.”

The pressures on Google and other platforms are coming from two places. Advertisers are, of course, invested in ensuring that their media is not placed alongside inappropriate content on the web. Per a 2017 WARC study, 78 percent of brands feel their messaging has been compromised by unsavory content on YouTube and elsewhere. Beyond the marketing world, there are growing societal concerns over how automation has created environments that are harmful to children in particular.

This focus on the human layer would suggest that YouTube doesn’t believe that automation alone can stop harmful content from appearing on the platform and that the combination of both AI and human moderation is the most effective model for decreasing undesirable content.

To contextualize why this volume of human moderators is needed, consider that 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. As the New York Magazine points out, that’s 65 hours of video every day.

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brand safety

Dailymotion Pivots Away From UGC With Premium Publisher Partnerships

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With brand safety challenges looming in the marketing world, heritage video platform Dailymotion has relaunched with a new mobile app and several high-profile publishers to prioritize premium content over user-generated videos.

Owned by Vivendi, which is also the parent company of Havas and Universal Music Group, Dailymotion has an audience of 300 million monthly users. While Dailymotion has been around for more than a decade, this relaunch marks the most explicit shift in the platform’s history.

The move away from user-generated content to a model emphasizing premium publishers is part of a broader strategy to deliver video experiences to discerning audiences (25-49) while also ensuring brand safety for ad partners.

Per a press release, this endeavor has involved forging extensive partnerships with names such as Genius, Condé Nast Entertainment, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Bloomberg Media, Group Nine Media, BBC News, VICE, Refinery29, Mic, Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, Cheddar, Fuse Media, FOX Deportes, USA Gymnastics, Fans 1st Media (a division of Cox Media Group) and GLORY Kickboxing. Once more feedback is obtained, specifically in terms of what is resonating most with users, more partners will be added to the list.

“As the leading provider of global business news, we’re thrilled to partner with Dailymotion to deliver our premium video and partner content on its new data-driven platform. We see our partnership as an important step to extending our reach, and bringing high-quality business, finance, and technology news to new, relevant audiences,” said Christine Morgan, Head of Content Sales at Bloomberg.

The content hosted on Dailymotion will center on four key categories: news, sports, music, and entertainment, with live events like sports games and concerts being the focal point.

As far as the app itself, the company has entirely revamped its interface with new key sections and features including a personalized feed based on each user’s specific tastes and interests; a discovery section where users can browse trending topics, moments, and channels; and a library where content spanning playlists, videos, and subscriptions, can be stored to watch at your convenience, even without an internet connection.

For publishers, Dailymotion has also announced a new HTML5 video player.

Apple users can grab the app here and Android users can download it in the Google Play store.

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brand safety

Facebook’s Answer To Deceptive Advertising: 1,000 Additional Human Moderators

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Facebook announced this week that it will add 1,000 jobs reserved for people who will review and verify the authenticity and appropriateness of ads placed in its platform.

The news comes on the heels of an investigation around how Russia used targeted Facebook ads to meddle in the U.S. Presidential Election and create public discord in the months that preceded it. (Just this week, Facebook revealed that the ads were shown to approximately 10 million people.)

TechCrunch reports that Facebook is hiring the staffers to be more proactive when it comes to ensuring brand safety. This includes helping assess not only the contents of the ads at “face value,” but also taking a closer look at the full context of the media buy, AKA which parties the advertiser is targeting. No doubt there are certain patterns of deceptive buys that will emerge and allow human moderators to reject more of these ads before they’re pushed out into the ecosystem.

We can expect to see an expansion of Facebook’s current policy regarding such ads, which today bans “shocking content, direct threats, and the promotion of the sale or use of weapons,” to disallow ads that include “subtle expressions of violence.”

New verification steps will also be added. USA Today reports that advertisers will be required to present “more thorough documentation” as well as confirm the business or organization they represent before they can purchase any ads.

Brand safety has become a major concern for advertisers who have benefitted from the scale and targeting that major platforms like Facebook and Google provide. Automated (programmatic) buying makes it easy for marketers to reach relevant audiences quickly and efficiently, but as the ease of the actual media buy increases, the risk does as well—despite technologies used to weed out inappropriate content.

A recent study from the CMO Council found that more than 70 percent of CMOs are “feeling pressure” from brand safety issues and 37 percent have pulled content due to brand safety issues.

In March, more than 250 brands pulled their ads from Google’s YouTube platform amid concerns that their content was appear in-stream alongside extremist videos and other inappropriate content. Media agencies have responded by partnering with companies like OpenSlate, a data company that helps buyers verify their content placements. Google responded by hiring an army of its own staffers.

Other platforms, like dailymotion, have made moves to stop monetizing user-generated content altogether, instead prioritizing content from trusted partners.

The trend across all of these efforts: a human presence. While automation is great for buying targeted media efficiently, machine learning has not proven to be a panacea for brand safety issues across the major platforms. As a result, advertisers and platforms alike are relying on a combination of man and machine to ensure that automation efforts are deployed successfully, and that ad partners are vetted by trained human moderators where and when it makes sense.

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