YouTube to block comments on most videos showing minors
02 March, 2019, 07:25 | Author: Gerard Cortez
YouTube has said it will suspend comments on videos featuring children which "could be at risk of attracting predatory behaviour". He showed that sexual predators were able to use comments to identify non-sexual video content that featured minors and would appeal to pedophiles.
YouTube says it will ban comments on videos featuring young minors, including cases where the videos are deemed to be "at risk" of attracting pedophiles' attention.
Today, YouTube revealed its plan in a blog post saying that it has disabled comments on "tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior" since Watson's report, and promising to continue working to identify potentially exploitative videos in the future. "A fair number of the videos in the wormhole have their comments disabled, which means Youtube's algorithm is detecting unusual behavior", he explained.
A small number of channels which have videos featuring kids will be allowed to keep comments turned on.
Comments aren't the main focus of the video-publishing site, but turning them off will likely diminish the experience for many users and video creators, he said.
Back in 2017 it was reported that very offensive comments were being left on videos featuring children.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki acknowledged the concerns Thursday, tweeting, "Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safety of young people on the platform". YouTube and Google at large do not want to be seen as promoting pedophilia or perpetuating content that could harm minors, so sweeping policy was inevitable.
YouTube will also be more aggressive in terminating channels that include any content which endangers minors. The response comes after several advertisers, including Disney, Nestle, and Fornite maker Epic Games, pulled their advertising dollars from YouTube after it was discovered some of their ads were running alongside the predatory comments. This measure is created to prevent predatory commenters from gathering in the comments section of such videos. Disabling comments is part of that effort.
That has led some creators to label the incident "Adpocalypse 2" - and they vented their anger at both YouTube for its approach and Watson for the way in which he raised the issue.
CBC reports that a children's cartoon video was found to have a suicide-related sequence hidden at around the five minute mark - in other words, deliberately buried so as to be inconspicuous. "I don't think you have to watch every one of those videos, and [YouTube is] taking those steps, but there's no replacement for a parent's guidance". But it appears the Google-owned service had to take action to regain the trust of advertisers.
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