YouTube exec on Logan Paul and how popular videos reflect our world


More than a billion people watch a total of a billion hours of video on YouTube every day. The company recently came under fire for its slow response to a graphic video from one of its popular stars, Logan Paul, which showed a suicide victim in Japan.

The video was up for 24 hours before Paul removed it. Ten days after the video was posted, YouTube took action by removing Paul's channel from its ad program, Google Preferred, and putting his future projects on hold.

Kevin Allocca, YouTube's head of culture and trends, joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss what the tech giant is doing to tackle content control, how the site is a reflection of our society, and his new book, "Videocracy: How YouTube Is Changing the World…with Double Rainbows, Singing Foxes, and Other Trends We Can't Stop Watching."

"You know, these are complicated problems," Allocca said when asked to address the Logan Paul controversy. "It's easy to say we should kind of go back to a model where everything gets reviewed before we see it for the first time but it's become really hard when you have 400 hours of video that get uploaded every minute and culture is changing so quickly."


Allocca, who pointed out that this isn't his particular area at the company, said YouTube is taking on the issue through a combination of human reviewing and machine learning that aims to balance enforcement with enabling the incredible diversity and creativity that users appreciate about the site.

"We have a whole generation of people that are growing up with these new technologies across all different platforms and it's important that we think about the implications of them," he said.  

One of the main themes in Allocca's book is the idea that YouTube really reflects our world and society – for better or worse.

"This is the first time really in the history of media that we've had such incredible diversity of interests, of passions, being able to be reflected. When we go and watch YouTube we have communities that form around all kinds of different things," he said. "I think it shows how today we have entered this time in which individuals actually play a role in shaping popular culture in a way that was never really possible before."

Yet most people don't really understand how the platform works. Stumbling across videos you like isn't as serendipitous as many might think.

"I think the way to think about that is YouTube is suggesting what it believes people will be fulfilled by. There's 80 billion signals every single day that are taken into account in that quote unquote 'algorithm' and there are over 200 million different videos that appear on the homepage every single day," he said.

"I think a lot of people think there's one single algorithm that controls everything but what it is is a series of monitoring of how people behave, what we love, trying to give back to them based on what we subscribe, what we watch, what we share, what we're talking about. The things that they're going to be fulfilled by. That's the difference. It's not like here's what we want you to see, but rather, here's what you want to see reflected back to you."