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YouTube to ban comments on kids videos over predator fears

02 March, 2019, 07:27 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • YouTube disables comments on

Comments will be disabled on all videos featuring young minors as well as videos with older minors that "could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior".

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted Thursday, "Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safety of young people on the platform".

"Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior".

YouTube hopes that it will be able to stop any further harm by largely ending the possibility of commenting on all videos of young children, except for a few approved accounts. It said it will allow "a small number of creators" to enable comments on "these types of videos".

The company's also developing new tools to "identify and remove predatory comments". The companies all say they have taken action to protect users. "Ticking a box to say they are over thirteen is simply not an approach that scales, when every day, 170,000 new children are going online", he said, citing a statistic from UNICEF. "We have decided not to continue advertising on the site until YouTube can assure us they have sorted their issues".

"While we have been removing hundreds of millions of comments for violating our policies, we had been working on an even more effective classifier, that will identify and remove predatory comments", YouTube said. This measure is created to prevent predatory commenters from gathering in the comments section of such videos.

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Hess also wants parents to be more aware of what their children are watching on YouTube and YouTube Kids, and for parents to do a better job in general of keeping up with technology.

The change comes as YouTube grapples with moderating content across its platform as concerns about hate speech, violence and conspiracy theories continue to plague it.

Lapowsky suggested parents check out YouTube Kids, where you can use parental controls to pick trusted channels, set custom playlists, and turn off search ability, among other features.

"Any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube", the company said earlier this week in a statement.

YouTube last week had already begun limiting the monetisation of videos that include minors, with those flagged as at risk receiving limited or no ads, and made known through the use of a yellow icon.

Why it matters: After an exposé video by Matt Watson went viral, YouTube has taken several measures to curbs pedophiles from exploiting the platform - a problem that has pervaded the service since at least 2017. YouTube also managed to generate extra revenue with "Super Chat" that users pay to display prominently with live-streamed videos.

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