Crack down by Google-owned video sharing website is not a full ban.
YouTube has announced that it is to restrict the availability of ‘creepy’ videos aimed at children and show popular children’s characters in violent and sexual scenes, if they are reported by viewers.
YouTube’s new policy follows several accusations that children were routinely viewing inappropriate content that was completely unsuitable for their age group.
Such videos included ones of popular UK cartoon character, Peppa Pig “basically being tortured” at the dentist, and also characters from Disney firing machine guns at other popular characters aimed at children.
YouTube already has a policy that has previously rendered such videos ineligible for advertising revenue. The hope was that in doing so it would reduce the motivation for video uploaders to create the dark, weird, and frankly disturbing content in the first place.
“Earlier this year, we updated our policies to make content featuring inappropriate use of family entertainment characters ineligible for monetisation,” said YouTube’s director of policy, Juniper Downs, “We’re in the process of implementing a new policy that age restricts this content in the YouTube main app when flagged. Age-restricted content is automatically not allowed in YouTube Kids. The YouTube team is made up of parents who are committed to improving our apps and getting this right.”
Time will tell
While YouTube have grudgingly admitted they have a responsibility and duty of care, the onus will be on parents and others manually having to flag sick and inappropriate content for review by YouTube.
YouTube Kids uses algorithmic filters to mainly approve content for its child-specific content. A team of humans that review videos which have been flagged. If a video with recognizable children’s characters gets flagged in YouTube’s main app, which is much larger than the Kids app, it will be sent to the policy review team. If the review finds the video is in violation of the new policy, it will be age restricted, automatically blocking it from showing up in the Kids app.
YouTube says it has thousands of people working around the clock in different time zones to review flagged content. A recent report in the New York Times, however, discovered that inappropriate videos routinely manage to bypass the protective net.
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