Disturbing videos appear on YouTube Kids app

Nov 25, 2017, 02:12
Disturbing videos appear on YouTube Kids app

YouTube also said Wednesday that they've strengthened their algorithms to demonetize an additional 3 million videos that featured family-friendly characters (e.g. cartoons) engaging in violent, sexual or other offensive behavior.

A series of reports have revealed children can easily be exposed to disturbing videos on YouTube, which are extremely unsuitable for their age. Those channels, she said, including content "featuring minors that may be endangering a child".

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"The government expects online platforms to have robust processes in place and to act promptly to remove content and user accounts that do not comply with their own policies", a spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports said. Johanna Wright, YouTube's VP for product management, made the announcement, on the back of a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not. YouTube also chose to crack down on "inappropriate sexual or predatory comments on videos featuring minors", by announcing that it would further disable the entire comment section for any videos of minors where these types of comments would be found.

Earlier, the New York Times reported that some videos featuring content that may be inappropriate for children may have slipped through its automated filters and found their way to the YouTube Kids section, considered to be a children-friendly app.

Starting this week, the website will also take a more "aggressive stance" on inappropriate comments posted on videos including minors.

The platform has seen an increase in the number of channels on which such videos are posted.

"Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale", wrote James Bridle, whose article has now been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Many of these videos were surfacing on YouTube Kids, a version of YouTube that bars age-restricted content.

As part of the changes, YouTube will be evaluating its verification policy.

In response, a YouTube spokesman said: "There shouldn't be any ads running on this content and we are working urgently to fix this". The Guardian reports that companies ranging from Mars to Adidas have pulled their ads from the service, not just on offending videos but on all content in general, hitting the search giants where it hurts.