Google-owned entertainment platform YouTube is taking urgent steps to ensure the safety of the younger members of its audience. A newly developed machine learning algorithm will help classify comments more effectively to filter content that exploits children aged 13 and younger, writes The New York Times.
One of YouTube’s critical measures is restricting comment features on videos of children that are “attracting predatory behavior.” The algorithm will be used on “tens of millions” of videos but less risky channels will be allowed, with moderators.
“Recently, there have been some deeply concerning incidents regarding child safety on YouTube,” tweeted Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive. “Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safety of young people on the platform. More on the steps we’re taking to better protect children & families.”
“Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior,” reads a company statement. “These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months. Over the next few months, we will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.”
Measures to ensure community safety and appease concerns about child exploitation were taken after a video “documenting how pedophiles have used comments on videos of children to guide other predators” went viral. In addition, a number of top advertisers including AT&T, Disney, Nestlé and Epic Games ceased advertising on YouTube after their ads were displayed on videos with minors that had predatory, explicit messages or emojis in the comment section, writes The New York Times. Other comments include timestamps to compromising poses from the videos.