Sci-tech

YouTube changes policies to clamp down on weird videos targeting kids

YouTube changes policies to clamp down on weird videos targeting kids”

YouTube plans to start age-restricting such flagged videos in coming weeks. While many advertisers withdrew their ads from the video sharing platform at the start of the year, a New York Times report published on November 8 blamed the platform for exposing children to odd and somewhat disturbing videos.

The YouTube app and its Kids variant have long had an issue with numerous odd and outright inappropriate videos popping up with keywords that target kids and use family-friendly characters, but YouTube is reportedly planning to start filtering those videos out of the YouTube Kids app by age-restricting them when they're found.

The policy update is YouTube's second move this year to discourage the proliferation of disturbing videos featuring family-friendly characters. YouTube says that it's been formulating this new policy for a while, and that it's not rolling it out in direct response to the recent coverage.

The first line of defense for YouTube Kids are algorithmic filters.

Now Youtube says it is putting in place a new process to age-restrict these types of videos in the main Youtube app.

While the policy is a welcome change for parents anxious about the content their kids may see on a user-generated platform such as YouTube, it appears that the new policy will still rely heavily on algorithms, and on someone spotting the problem content first.

As videos typically take a few days to make it to YouTube Kids from the normal YouTube site, the company is hoping that people flag content that is potentially disturbing for children within that time.

Following revelations that YouTube is serving up to kids thousands of inappropriate and disturbing videos, the company said it will step up its efforts to prevent children from seeing such content.

Age-restricted videos are automatically blocked from showing up in its YouTube Kids app, the company said.

YouTube will restrict access to videos involving children's characters that are flagged for having content that's inappropriate for kids, the company said in a statement.

YouTube will be using its team of moderators to help sift through content and flag any videos that may be inappropriate. All age-gated content is also automatically exempt from advertising. The new rule covers any inappropriate usage of family-friendly characters, meaning that weird videos meant to reel in kids on the brand power of well-known characters can be excluded from the app even if they don't have any content that would otherwise be considered inappropriate.

In today's policy announcement, YouTube is acknowledging the problem, and promising to police it better. There is a place, the company is arguing, for satire about Peppa Pig drinking bleach, however distasteful you might find it.

While YouTube is home to many satirical animations that are crude or otherwise violent, they're not targeted at kids. And, the company is willing to forgo additional ad revenue - and there is a lot of money flowing through this segment of the industry - if that's what it takes to ensure YouTube Kids feels like a safe experience for families.



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