Google has announced it is removing the ability to comment on all YouTube videos featuring children. The company said almost all uploaded clips featuring under 18s will have the comments section disabled.
YouTube’s decision comes following recent reports revealing the scale of an issue with paedophiles leaving explicit and obscene comments on the channels of popular young YouTubers.
Changes will be made to the service over the coming months. In a post on its creator blog, Team YouTube said the new steps were critical for keeping young people safe online.
The company says it has also accelerated the launch of a more effective comment classifier, which will be able to identify and remove predatory comments. That system is now detecting and removing twice as many comments. Google is also assuring content creators, the changes will not affect the monetisation of videos.
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The company says: “Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behaviour. 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 behaviour.
“A small number of creators will be able to keep comments enabled on these types of videos. These channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behaviour. We will work with them directly and our goal is to grow this number over time as our ability to catch violative comments continues to improve.”
Is this scorched earth policy the only way to tackle the online predators? Should YouTube have done this years ago anyway? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.