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YouTube took down 8M videos in 3 months, with machines doing most of the work

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To reassure advertisers and deter the interest of regulators, YouTube recently decided to begin posting a quarterly Community Guidelines Enforcement Report highlighting its efforts to purge the site of content that breaches its terms of service.

The first of these reports, posted on Monday, reveals that the Google-owned company wiped 8.3 million videos from its servers between October and December, 2017. YouTube said the majority of the videos were spam or contained sexual content. Others featured abusive, violent, or terrorist-related material.

The data, which doesn’t include content deleted for copyright or legal reasons, shows that YouTube’s automated tools are now doing most of the work, deleting the majority of the unsuitable videos. Interestingly, YouTube noted that of the 6.7 million videos pulled up by its machine-based technology, 76 percent were removed before they received a single view.

The report also highlighted how its technology is helping to speed up identification and removal of unsuitable content: “At the beginning of 2017, 8 percent of the videos flagged and removed for violent extremism were taken down with fewer than 10 views. We introduced machine-learning flagging in June 2017. Now more than half of the videos we remove for violent extremism have fewer than 10 views.”

Humans still play a role in keeping the service free of objectionable content. Just over a million of the deleted videos were flagged by a “trusted individual,” while “YouTube users” flagged another 0.4 million. A small number of videos were flagged by non-governmental organizations and government agencies. Flagged videos are not automatically deleted — some will be deemed OK by YouTube’s review system, while others will be slapped with an age-restriction notice.

YouTube also employs its own human reviewers who look at suspect content passed on by its machine-based system. The company is working to create a team of 10,000 reviewers by the end of 2018, and is also hiring full-time specialists with expertise in violent extremism, counterterrorism, and human rights. Regional expert teams are also being expanded, the company said.

The number of videos removed by YouTube in just three months may surprise some, though it’s also worth considering that the site has more than 400 hours of content uploaded each and every minute.

YouTube clearly still faces many challenges in cleaning up its service, but it insists it’s committed to ensuring it “remains a vibrant community with strong systems to remove violative content,” adding that future reports should demonstrate ongoing improvements regarding its procedures and technology for getting rid of unsuitable material.

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Import route block throws Ethiopia into fuel scarcity.

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The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has been hit by a severe fuel shortage as at Tuesday (January 15), multiple local media outlets have reported.

Unusually long queues have been formed outside fuel stations that have supplies with many motorists waiting for hours to buy fuel. Government has yet to respond to the development.



The shortage is largely blamed on a current blockage on the road that links Ethiopia and Djibouti. Ethiopia, a regional economic giant imports most of its supplies through the Djiboutian ports.

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The blockage is staged by young people in the Afar region who are protesting against violent incidents reportedly perpetrated by an ethnic group of Somali extraction.

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The blockage was specifically in the cities of Semera and Awash with pictures showing people sitting right in the middle of the road with loaded trucks parked on either side.

A local portal said protesters were unhappy about a move that saw the federal government withdraw the region’s special forces from areas where the violence happened.

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South Africa Stands 77th in global economic freedom index.

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South Africa has been ranked 77th out of 100 world countries in economic freedom by the Heritage Foundation.



In terms of economic freedom, the Heritage Foundation indicates that with a world rank of 77/180, South Africa is 4th in the African region. The country’s over-all economic freedom score improved with 0.7 in 2017.

General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa, Dr Petrus de Kock, said the index provides some insight into dimensions of the South African economic environment as the country continues to grapple with historical challenges, and the need to spur on entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Notable improvements for South Africa in 2018 include the improvement in the area of investment freedom, and judicial effectiveness. The latter is significant coming in a year where the administration of President Ramaphosa made investment a key focal area of its work,” said de Kock.

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South Africa’s improvement in the rankings comes as a result of advancements in the areas of property rights which is up from 67.6 in 2017 to 67.7 for 2018; judicial effectiveness increased from 59.7 in 2017 to 65.9; fiscal health sees an improvement of +4.6 from 70.7 in 2017; business freedom advanced by +3.1 points from 62.0 in 2017; labour freedom improved by +1.2 in 2018 from 58.9 in 2017; and investment freedom significantly improved by +10.0 from 40.0 in 2017. Notable is South Africa ranks higher than two European nations, being – Italy (79/180), and Greece (115/180).

On the global front based on the measurements of this index, the Heritage Foundation finds that the global average economic freedom score is 61.1, the highest score since inception of the index 24 years ago.

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At an aggregate level, of the 180 economies measured by the index in 2018 – 102 scored better, while the economic freedom scores of 75 got worse. In the case of South Africa it can be noted that the country is one of the 102 that improved its economic freedom score.

Released on an annual basis by the Heritage Foundation, the Index of Economic Freedom provides insight into the extent to which governments enable an open and unrestricted economic environment for citizens and businesses to operate in.

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