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YouTube Highlights Video Policies Meant to Protect Minors

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Following another damaging story about bad behavior on its platform, YouTube put out a blog post highlighting recent moves it made to safeguard minors.

On Monday, the New York Times published a feature detailing how YouTube's automated recommendation engine groups together innocent home movies starring children, creating catalogs of videos almost tailor-made for pedophiles. The report notes that this isn't the first time YouTube's child predator problems have been made public, as a Wired story in February drew attention to how pedophiles were using the comment sections in some videos.

News 1In response, YouTube ran a blog post yesterday pointing out measures it has taken "over the past several months." It now doesn't allow minors to live stream unless an adult is present. An automated system will help locate and remove violating content. YouTube has disabled comments of videos that feature children. It's also curbing its video recommendation system by "limiting recommendations of borderline content to include videos featuring minors in risky situations."

The post does not identify what constitutes a risky situation, but said, "We rolled out our most recent improvement earlier this month. With this update, we’ll be able to better identify videos that may put minors at risk and apply our protections, including those described above, across even more videos."

While these measures will likely help the situation, they don't fully address the problem the New York Times details. "YouTube has not put in place the one change that researchers say would prevent this from happening again: turning off its recommendation system on videos of children, though the platform can identify such videos automatically," the article notes. "The company said that because recommendations are the biggest traffic driver, removing them would hurt 'creators' who rely on those clicks. It did say it would limit recommendations on videos that it deems as putting children at risk."

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