Friday, 01 March 2019 09:56

YouTube disables comments on videos with minors

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YouTube disables comments on videos with minors Pixabay

Google's YouTube video-sharing site has announced that it will disable comments on videos that feature young minors in response to reports that the network was found to be harbouring paedophiles who share videos showing the exploitation of children.

The announcement said that comments had already been disabled on tens of millions of videos that could encourage predatory behaviour.

"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 behaviour," the company said in an unattributed blog post.

Following the reports of paedophiles stalking kids on YouTube, a number of well-known companies, such as AT&T, Nestle, Disney, Fortnite maker Epic Games and German food giant Dr August Oetker pulled their ads. This was more or less a repeat of what happened two years ago.

Google said it was working on "an more effective classifier" to identify and delete predatory comments.

"This classifier does not affect the monetisation of your video. We accelerated its launch and now have a new comments classifier in place that is more sweeping in scope, and will detect and remove more individual comments," the company said.

Google has made similar pledges to clean up YouTube in the past but its efforts have not been very successful.

The New York Times ran a story in 2017, which began, "Over the years, Google trained computer systems to keep copyrighted content and pornography off its YouTube service." Those systems do not appear to be up to scratch if paedophiles are using YouTube to indulge themselves and exploit children.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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