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Photo: Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

YouTube said on Tuesday that it removed 11.4 million videos last quarter, largely by relying more heavily on automated content moderation. The company said 95% of the problematic videos removed at first detection were found by its software.

The big picture: With fewer human reviewers, thanks to COVID-19 forcing people to work remotely, YouTube had to choose between relying more on automated systems and over-removing content or relying on fewer humans and allowing more rule-violating videos to remain online. It says it chose the former to protect its community, but removal appeals doubled as a result.

By the numbers: The number of videos that were appealed doubled from Q1 to Q2, the company said. But YouTube says it prepared for the increase in appeals by adding more resources, and as a result, it was able to reinstate double the amount of appealed content from Q1 to Q2.

  • Still, YouTube says appeals are pretty rare and only occur in less than 3% of all video removals.
  • Most of the videos removed got few views, according to YouTube. In total, 42% of removed videos had 0 views, 24% had 1–10 views and 24% had more than 10 views.
  • Most of the videos were removed for child safety policy violations (3.8 million videos), spam (3.2 million videos) or nudity (1.7 million videos).
  • The aggressive policy enforcement led to more than 3x the number of removals of content that YouTube's systems suspected was tied to violent extremism or was potentially harmful to children.
  • The company said it only removed 2 billion comments last quarter.

Context: Facebook also said it was forced to rely more heavily on automation as a result of the pandemic.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Technology

Facebook removed 265,000 pieces of content on voter interference

Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Facebook says it removed more than 265,000 pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. for violating its content policies on voter interference leading up to the election.

Why it matters: The company was much more proactive this election cycle than last in taking down and labeling content attempting to disrupt the election.

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.