YouTube says it will block predatory comment sections on videos of minors

Carla Harmon
November 24, 2017

Any videos that feature minors in live-action and seem to depict abuse, neglect, endangerment, or other such behaviors will be reported and investigated, even videos that may seem innocuous, or may seem like the uploader's intentions were not malicious.

Through these steps, YouTube may be able to improve its standing among parents after a pair of articles raised concerns about the nature of content on YouTube Kids. In the last week, YouTube terminated over 50 channels and removed thousands of videos under these guidelines.

"In recent months, we've noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not", wrote Johanna Wright, YouTube's vice president of product management, in a blog post dated November 22.

The statement published on the YouTube official blog Wednesday, also said the service had discovered a large number of videos that pretend to be family-friendly but are "clearly not".

YouTube also used its blog post to remind consumers of a June 2017 policy shift that stripped inappropriate videos of their ability to run ads.

Acknowledging the nuance that comes with moderating kid-friendly content, YouTube announced that they'll be doubling the number of their trusted flaggers to better understand how to handle "challenging" adult content that doesn't cater to children but might appeal to them.

The wide-ranging measures from YouTube is in response to mounting criticism recently leveled against the Google-owned giant by the media as well as activist groups. YouTube's algorithms would surface these videos next to harmless, child-friendly content. The channel had 8 million subscribers before YouTube took it down last week.

BuzzFeed and the New York Times and an online essay by British writer James Bridle pointed out some clips shown on YouTube that were questionable.

The third step that YouTube has highlighted is that it will take a more aggressive stance towards inappropriate comments by completely disabling the comments on the videos where any kind of sexual or predatory comments are seen.

As part of the changes, YouTube will be evaluating its verification policy.

The Buzzfeed report emerged after an activist called Matan Uziel complained about a severe lack of action from the platform after reporting "tens of thousands of videos available on YouTube that we know are crafted to serve as eye candy for perverted, creepy adults".

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