Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who Flag Videos

In crime movies, there is nothing lower than the “rat,” a character who squeals on one of his or her own to authorities. Never mind that the squealees are the law breakers, often brutally vicious ones, they are seen as the victims.

YouTube appears to be making an effort to avoid that scenario with its new program, announced today. Dubbed YouTube Heroes, it is enlisting creators to help make the video hosting platform a better place by adding captions and subtitles to videos, sharing their knowledge with others in its help forums and, oh yeah, reporting videos that violate its community guidelines.

YouTube has long history of policing its own. In a blog post published last week, it revealed that 90 million people from 196 countries have flagged videos on YouTube since 2006, and over a third of them have flagged more than one video.

YouTube amped up the reporting process in 2012 with the launch of the Trusted Flagger program, which allows participants to flag multiple videos at one time. All flagged videos are reviewed by trained teams to determine whether or not to remove the flagged videos. Videos reported by Trusted Flaggers are removed more than 90% of the time, three times more than the those reported by the average flagger.

People interested in joining the YouTube Heroes program can apply here. Those selected will have access to a dedicated YouTube Heroes community site, separate from the main YouTube site, where participants can interact with each other and share information. Participants will also be able to earn points and unlock rewards to help them reach the next “hero” level (shades of Scientology?). Level 2 heroes get access to training through exclusive workshops and Hero hangouts, and Level 3 heroes who have demonstrated their proficiency will be able to flag multiple videos at a time like Trusted Flaggers and help moderate content within the YouTube Heroes Community site.

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