Google's policy to respect local laws and culture when removing harmful, illegal content from its platforms, like YouTube, applies universally to creators and uploaders across the world, including in South Korea, a senior executive of the US tech giant said on Thursday.
"We comply with the law in each country in which we operate, and we remove illegal content after review and in accordance with the laws that apply in that country," Jean-Jacques Sahel, head of content policy in Asia Pacific at Google, said in an online press conference for Korean media.
"There are obviously social, cultural differences from one country to another, which results in different laws, and we have to respect that."
He said when Google receives a notification from a proper authority to remove illegal content, it blocks it locally after reviewing the legality of the content, reports Yonhap news agency.
For example, more than 80 per cent of removal requests from the South Korean authorities in the first half of 2022 were related to privacy and security issues, the Google official said.
"Various content that would be totally acceptable to people in Korea or Northern Europe, that might be far less acceptable to people in parts of Africa or Asia, for instance," he said. "So we have to respect the particular countries and related laws, and we do that."
On top of that, Google's own platform policies apply globally, banning hate speech, sexually explicit content, threats and others.
To enforce its policies at scale and in an effective way, the Google official said the U.S. tech giant has adopted a machine learning programme.
More than 94 of violative videos removed in the fourth quarter of 2022 were first flagged by machines, and more than 71 percent of the violative videos first detected by machines received fewer than 10 views before they were removed from YouTube, he added.
"We now have over 20,000 people across Google working on content moderation and on removal on our platforms," he said. "And that includes reviewers that are fluent in multiple languages, including Korean, and they carefully evaluate illegal removal requests and user flags or machine flags 24 hours a day, across time zones around the world."