• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

YouTube is facing a reckoning. Insiders explain how CEO Susan Wojcicki skirted scrutiny for years and why that could be about to change.

·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I'm Matt Turner, co-editor-in-chief of business at Insider.

YouTube is a $1 trillion tech giant you likely rarely think about. That's deliberate.

The video giant, part of the tech behemoth Alphabet, has a global audience that watches more than 1 billion hours' worth of videos every day. In the first half of this year, it booked $13 billion in revenue. As a standalone company, it would be worth $1 trillion, according to one analyst.

And yet, while Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Alphabet boss Sundar Pichai have faced grillings on Capitol Hill, the YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki has kept herself and her media empire out of the spotlight.

In their story this week, Hugh Langley and Rob Price talked to insiders about how YouTube really operates, how Wojcicki has been able to skirt scrutiny, and whether it can last. Read on to get the inside story on their reporting.

Also in this week's newsletter:

Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com

Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here. Download our app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.

How YouTube has avoided the scrutiny facing Facebook

YouTube
The Google exec Philipp Schindler said the "shift to online video and streaming" was key to the firm's success Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Hugh Langley and Rob Price take us behind the scenes of their reporting on how Susan Wojcicki built YouTube into a juggernaut.

What prompted you to start looking into YouTube at this moment in Big Tech?

Rob: YouTube is fascinating because it has 2 billion users, but it's often left out of the conversation around social media and Big Tech entirely. Almost uniquely of major tech leaders, CEO Susan Wojcicki has never testified before Congress. We wanted to understand how she's managed that and how YouTube really makes decisions.

How did you two tackle reporting on this story together?

Hugh: We started by sketching out the general contours of the story and the questions we wanted answered. We then spoke to dozens of people - employees, creators, external stakeholders. The reporting was always evolving, but we had a lot of communication through the process - and a lot of spreadsheets.

What was one of the most surprising things you uncovered in your reporting?

Rob: One thing that really struck me is how much of YouTube's essential infrastructure for making decisions on policy came into being relatively late in its existence. It was only in 2017 - after a major advertiser boycott - that it launched its internal policy council for making decisions about controversial content, as well as an internal blacklist of terrorist groups and other dangerous individuals.

What should readers take away from this report?

Hugh: One big takeaway is the tricky balancing act Susan is pulling off. The other is YouTube's reach. We all know that billions of people use YouTube, but it also has an outsized influence on other platforms such as Facebook. That makes stamping out harmful content an even bigger responsibility.

Read the full report: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki built a $1 trillion video empire by skirting scrutiny and not acting like Facebook.

Growing up (on Zoom)

Two little kids dressed up like office goers with a phone and laptop.
RichVintage/Getty Images

The pandemic has pushed office life out the door, and Gen Zers are ready to work remotely forever. But a great deal of how people grow, mature, and learn to deal with interpersonal challenges has historically happened in the workplace.

As our senior correspondent Rebecca Knight reports, young people will now have to learn how to become adults over Zoom.

People used to grow up on the job. Here's what happens now.

TV players want to sell their shows to streaming giants

Apple TV+, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO logos flying towards the center of a TV. A hand holding a remote is directed towards the center. The background is purple with a warped texture on top of it.
Apple; Disney+; Netflix; Hulu; Amazon; HBO; Insider

The launch of new streaming services has shaken up Hollywood's hierarchy of top TV buyers. According to entertainment-industry insiders, HBO is the creative holy grail for pros - surpassing Netflix and others as the most desired TV-show landing spot.

Creators who sell to HBO know they'll get a promotional and awards push, though Apple TV+ does have the draw of A-list stars. Disney, Netflix, and Hulu have their own attributes, too.

18 TV players reveal where they want to sell their shows - and why.

Zillow is stirring up worry

Zillow
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Zillow has paused homebuying for the rest of the year, leading some to speculate about its algorithm. Insider dug into fewer than 100 listings and found 30 homes Zillow was selling for less than it paid.

Zillow's losses highlight the razor-thin margin for error in an environment in which real-estate prices grew at levels unseen since the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis before cooling down.

These five homes it purchased explain what's happening.

More of this week's top reads:

Sponsored event invite: We are in the midst of the Great Resignation. Join us November 4 at 12 p.m. ET. for a virtual event presented by Facebook Workplace to learn about building effective hybrid cultures, workflow transformation, and more. Register here.

Compiled with help from Phil Rosen.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting