Building equity into our products and policies through the Inclusion Working Group
At YouTube, we put equity and inclusion at the forefront of our mission. To do this, our teams explore how our practices, policies and norms may create bias and inequity on the platform.
This is why we established a dedicated Racial Justice, Equity and Product Inclusion team over two years ago. Today, we want to give you a closer look at how one of the core programs under this team - YouTube’s Inclusion Working Group - is helping teams embed equity into the foundation of the platform and business.
What is the Inclusion Working Group?
Back in 2020, YouTube established the Inclusion Working Group (“IWG") as part of our commitment to making sure the voices of historically underrepresented communities were incorporated in the development of our products, processes, and policies. The group’s focus is to identify key equity risks and opportunities as early as possible.
We set up the IWG recognizing the most important part would be its members. As a consultative body that works across teams, the IWG includes a dedicated product inclusion lead, executive sponsorship, and participation from employee resource groups and leaders from across YouTube, including experts in machine learning and responsible AI. The IWG formally creates a way to implement feedback from employee resource groups and product experts — and most importantly, acknowledge them for their contribution.
Why does this matter?
We think it's important to have our users see themselves and their lived experiences reflected in our products and policies.
To do this, it's important to consider equity and inclusion early in the development process, to give teams the time to address risks and adjust direction if needed. This has allowed us to hold individual teams and the entire organization to a higher standard of equity.
What has the Inclusion Working Group done?
To date, the IWG has partnered with YouTube teams on over 900 projects. We partner with teams to understand how they plan to use machine learning, whether facets of identity are considered in products, or if new launches may lead to undue hate and harassment. For these projects, the team meets weekly to share feedback early in the development process.
The IWG's work has helped teams improve a range of projects. We've helped develop new safety protocols for the first MLB game entirely announced by women, improved how we detect racially hateful comments, prepared teams to identify and respond to new forms of online hate, and continued to advocate for the safety and diverse representation of Creators in launches.
What’s next for IWG in 2023?
We acknowledge we have more to do and are excited about what’s ahead in 2023.
This year, we’ll expand the IWG's coverage to even more of YouTube's product teams. We will empower teams with guidance on how to prioritize equity in their product strategy. Finally, we’ll look to educate teams on equity risks through case studies and other content.
This work will take time and thoughtful discussion, but the ways it will benefit the entire YouTube ecosystem for years to come keeps us motivated. We look forward to sharing more of the progress with you as we continue this work.