Near the end of a tough, wide-ranging 40-minute interview on Monday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made her second attempt at an apology to users.
“It was a hard week across the board,” Wojcicki said in the interview on stage at Recode’s Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I really do apologize for the hurt that we caused.”
Wojcicki’s remarks were intended to address a backlash stemming from YouTube’s confusing response last week to videos posted by Steven Crowder, a prominent right-wing personality, which included homophobic and racist slurs directed at Vox video journalist Carlos Maza. First, YouTube said Crowder’s videos didn’t violate its policies. The next day, YouTube said it would demonetize the videos, in light of what YouTube’s head of communications described as “widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior.”
Yet, a similar apology could arguably have applied to any number of controversies swirling around the company as YouTube increasingly finds itself nudged into the harsh spotlight long occupied primarily by Facebook (FB).
This month alone, YouTube has faced scrutiny for allegedly radicalizing young men online through its recommendation engine and for suggesting videos of “prepubescent, partially clothed children” to users who had previously viewed “sexually themed content.”