YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Gets 'Freedom Expression' Award Sponsored by YouTube

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki received a "Free Expression" award from the Freedom Forum Institute in a virtual ceremony sponsored by YouTube, an online video platform owned by Google.

On Thursday, YouTube creator Molly Burke presented Wojcicki with the accolade in a video shared to the platform. "I'm so excited to be here tonight to present Susan Wojcicki with the Free Expression award. As the CEO of YouTube, Susan is facing some of the most critical issues around free expression today," Burke said.

Wojcicki sat down for an interview during the online ceremony, during which she emphasized the importance of free speech and the role that YouTube plays in protecting it.

Susan Wojcicki
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks as San Francisco mayor London Breed looks on during a press conference at Hamilton Families on November 21, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"I've just seen the real benefits that freedom of speech has, as well as representing people of all different backgrounds and all different perspectives, and the freedoms that we have, we really can't take for granted," she said. "We really have to make sure that we're protecting them in every way possible. I feel, because of my family history, a deep connection to those freedoms and I'm very thankful for the freedoms that I have."

The tech CEO also discussed the platform balancing people's right to free speech with protecting the community from harmful content.

"We want to be able to have as diverse and open a platform as possible and represent as many views as possible on the platform, but we also need to make sure there are limits," she said. "Since the beginning of YouTube we've had community guidelines."

Wojcicki continued: "From the very beginning, we wouldn't allow adult content, hate content, dangerous content, all of those types of content could really make it that YouTube is no longer a platform that's viable for all those different voices out there."

"As YouTube has become bigger and has had more of an impact, we've seen a need to increase what we're doing from a responsibility standpoint," she added.

Following the ceremony, some Twitter users mocked Wojcicki for receiving an award that was sponsored by her own platform.

"YouTube CEO won a Free Speech award...sponsored by YouTube. Hahahahhhaahhhahhahahahaaaaaaa," one user wrote.

YouTube CEO won a Free Speech award...sponsored by YouTube. Hahahahhhaahhhahhahahahaaaaaaa pic.twitter.com/QX56hNUnFL

— Matt Orfalea (@0rf) April 19, 2021

Another wrote, "Lol, youtube receiving an award for free expression/pro first amendment is Orwellian s***. What's next, Facebook getting an award for respecting privacy?"

Lol, youtube receiving an award for free expression/pro first amendment is Orwellian sh!t. What's next, Facebook getting an award for respecting privacy? https://t.co/PEiT3ZUgMB

— Solidarity ☭ 🦺 (@Karlmarxhd) April 18, 2021

Newsweek reached out to YouTube for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

Watch highlights from the Freedom Forum's "Free Expression Award" ceremony below: