YouTube pledges $1 million to police reform nonprofit

YouTube Axon 10 Pro
YouTube Axon 10 Pro (Image credit: Jason England / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • YouTube has pledged $1 million to the Center for Police Equity amid protests in the U.S.
  • The Center is a think-tank that has adopted a data-driven approach to tackling police brutality.
  • YouTube's algorithm has been criticized as being a funnel towards white supremacist content.

As the protests against police brutality in the U.S. intensified over the weekend, YouTube made a move towards solidarity with the protests. The company announced a $1 million donation towards a non-profit aimed at tackling police racism and brutality in the community.

The organization in question is the Center for Policing Equity, a non-profit organization aimed at reducing the incidence of police brutality in the U.S.

"Center for Policing Equity can measure bias in policing. That means we can stop it," their home page reads, "1 in 5 Americans interacts with law enforcement yearly. Of those encounters, 1 million result in use of force. And if you're Black, you are 2-4 times more likely to have force used than if you are White. Reform can work. Working directly with police to measure behaviors and revise policies results in fewer people killed, and fewer people in jail."

While YouTube's donation is praiseworthy, the organization has also been roundly critiqued as sometimes serving as a funnel into white supremacy and extremism via its nebulously defined algorithm.

"[Y]ouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens," the New York Times reported back in 2019.

As the comments on YouTube's Twitter announcement show, users have not forgiven, and they have certainly not forgotten.

From the Editor's Desk: Protest under assault

Michael Allison