Tuesday 20 August 2019

YouTube promises to stop disturbing trend in its comments section

YouTube
YouTube

Andrew Griffin

YouTube says that it will act to stop a disturbing trend sweeping over its site.

In recent weeks, it has become more and more clear that a number of people are invading videos meant for children and using them to post inappropriate and predatory messages. The worrying comments are part of a broader concern over the fact that YouTube appears to be inadvertently hosting disturbing and strange videos featuring and directed at children.

Across the site, videos featuring children – doing entirely innocent things, like playing games or participating in athletics – are garnering comments apparently from predators looking to use them to post inappropriate comments. In some of the messages, users appear to be soliciting children to talk, inviting them to discuss things away from the public view of the comments page.

Now, YouTube says it will crack down on those sinister comments, along with a more broad attempt to make YouTube safer for its young users.

"We have historically used a combination of automated systems and human flagging and review to remove inappropriate sexual or predatory comments on videos featuring minors. Comments of this nature are abhorrent and we work with NCMEC to report illegal behavior to law enforcement," a blog post from YouTube read.

"Starting this week we will begin taking an even more aggressive stance by turning off all comments on videos of minors where we see these types of comments."

The commitment came as part of a broader blog post about "content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not". The company said that it would be trying to stop such content through a mix of technological and human means, by blocking and removing ad money from videos that were preying on children.

"Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies," wrote Johanna Wright, vice president of product management at YouTube.

"These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge. We’re wholly committed to addressing these issues and will continue to invest the engineering and human resources needed to get it right. As a parent and as a leader in this organization, I’m determined that we do."

Independent News Service

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