YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was speaking at the Wired25 event in San Francisco and referred to the video-sharing platform’s past 18 months as its “growing-up years”. By that she meant that the company has experienced something of a turbulent period as it moved to recalibrate around changing market, technology and user conditions.
With 1.9bn monthly users, Wojcicki talked about what passes as responsible growth with such a huge userbase. “We want to make sure we’re delivering the right information and thinking hard about these tough questions,” she said. “I think we’re in a much better place.” In an age of disinformation, clickbait, extreme ideologies and abusive content, YouTube constantly finds itself on the horns of multiple dilemmas as a facilitator and mediator of this.
Being a UGC-led platform, of course she was going to argue that the pros of openness greatly outweigh the cons. “If we look at openness and we think about all of the advantages it’s had, it’s tremendous,” she said. “I don’t think anyone here could think about going back to a world pre-internet where you didn’t have access to all the information we have in the world […] Openness is here, it’s really valuable, but we have to mirror that with the right level of responsibility.”