In an effort to combat child exploitation on its platform, YouTube has banned unaccompanied minors live streaming. Channels that fail to comply with the new policy may lose the ability to live stream.
YouTube is taking broader sweeps with its policy brush after several explosive investigative reports revealed a nasty surprise. Today, the New York Times reported on how YouTube’s algorithms can be used by pedophiles to string together innocent home videos. These recommended videos ten appeared right after the user has engaged with sexually explicit content.
These policy changes at are designed to combat the platform facilitating communication between pedophiles. Going forward, all comments will be disabled on videos featuring minors. This change is vital because pedophiles were using commented timestamps to reference children in exploitative positions.
YouTuber MattsWhatItIs exposed that problem back in February, bringing massive media attention to the algorithm’s flaws.
The sweeping policy changes also include a change in the way the recommendations algorithm works. YouTube has limited the recommendations algorithm from including videos featuring minors or risky situations. The content itself is not policy violating since it is usually children swimming or bathing. But YouTube says it recognizes the risk in allowing total strangers access to that content.
YouTube says the company has been working hard to tackle the issue for more than two years. But child exploitation has been an issue on the platform for years now. Remember Elsagate?
The YouTube algorithm recommended videos that featured cartoon characters in abusive situations to children. YouTube touts the YouTube Kids app as a way that kids can safely engage with videos on the platform, but the explicit videos appeared in that channel.
The Elsagate discovery is what prompted YouTube to in the first place.
The problem doesn’t seem to be slowing down, even by YouTube’s own admission. In the company’s blog post, they admit that over 800,000 videos were removed for violations child safety policies.