Did Google Just Grow Up?

Google is set to employ 10,000 people to provide a human check for extremism and content that could be harmful to children.

That was the announcement today, the morning after Facebook launched a Messenger service for kids under 13.

Is it me, or is the internet showing signs of growing up?

Now, let's not rush to applaud Google for clearing up a problem it has created for itself. But nonetheless, if it goes through with its plans, that can only be a good thing for both employment levels, wherever the checkers are, and for the veracity of online content. 

OK -- that's enough praise for now as we remind ourselves that this morning's announcement has only come about because of a second major boycott of the video-streaming site by a who's who of internet advertisers.

This time The Times (it's always The Times, isn't it?) picked up that YouTube simply wasn't reacting to complaints about predatory remarks being left under videos of children. It stalled and stalled again, and then a second boycott gathered traction -- you'll remember the first was over its failure to remove violent extremist videos.

Then we have Facebook offering what every parent has been screaming out for for years -- a messaging app where we control who our little ones are talking to. By letting parents say little Jimmy can talk to Anna and John, but not some guy we've never heard of, answers the biggest single user need for those with kids.

I was shocked recently to discover my youngest was on a site that allowed chat. We simply weren't aware of it and found a couple of very creepy messages. Needless to say, the app is gone, but we would be more than happy for her to chat with friends we verify and are also verified by their parents.

There has been a lot of growing up in adland and online publishing too. The ads.txt phenomenon is letting publishers stipulate through whom they sell their inventory, so fraudsters cannot get away with pretending to be a legitimate network for a given title.

Then we also have a kind of kitemark launched by the independent press regulator, Ipso. This is to be the mark of quality journalism for members but, as I said yesterday, I imagine it will soon be used digitally to let ad buyers know that content comes from a reputable source. 

However, it's this taking of responsibility over content that is so clearly visible in Google employing 10,000 people that really stands out as a sign the internet is growing up. 

It's not quite an admission from the world's biggest publisher that it is, indeed, a publisher -- albeit of other people's content -- but it is a move toward taking responsibility for that content.

It is a move away from sitting back and letting the good times roll to accepting we all need to clear up the messes we make.

2 comments about "Did Google Just Grow Up?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., December 5, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

    10,000 censors ... what could go wrong?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 5, 2017 at 5:24 p.m.

    Where will they be located ? How will they be trained ? What will be their requirements for employment ? What are the parameters ? These are questions without thinking too deeply.

Next story loading loading..