YouTube to ban comments on videos featuring kids to fight exploitation

YouTube’s move comes two weeks after a video blogger documented how the site had enabled what he called a «soft-core paedophile ring.» In many cases, apparent paedophiles took advantage of YouTube’s comments system, where they would post time stamps so that others could skip ahead to moments when kids are in compromising positions. Users who viewed videos of minors would be served up additional videos featuring children through YouTube’s recommendation engine.

YouTube initially responded last week by removing tens of millions of comments. along with more than 400 channels, on videos involving minors. The revelations also triggered a sharp backlash among major brands that advertise on YouTube, including Nestle and Disney, which suspended their ad spending on the site.

Early Friday morning, AEDT, YouTube said it had accelerated its work on new software that could spot and remove predatory comments more effectively, adding that it had terminated additional channels that put children at risk. The company said it would grant an exception to its new comment ban for a «small number of channels that actively moderate their comments and take additional steps to protect children.»

YouTube has long struggled to monitor and remove problematic content from its massive platform, where users upload 400 hours of content every minute. In recent years, it has faced controversies over militant extremist content, hateful conspiratorial videos and violent or sexually suggestive clips that were reaching children through the YouTube Kids app, which is supposed to be safe.

Washington Post




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