YouTube announced Wednesday that they’re taking steps to combat child exploitation on the platform. The announcement comes days after various outlets accused the video-sharing website of turning a blind eye to the influx of pedophile-friendly content.
In a blog post, YouTube’s Vice President of Product Management Johanna Wright claimed they’ve always taken a hard stance against child abuse on the website but they’re now removing content that features any sort of child endangerment—regardless of the uploader’s intent.
“In the last couple of weeks we expanded our enforcement guidelines around removing content featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader’s intent,” the post read.
“In the last week we terminated over 50 channels and have removed thousands of videos under these guidelines, and we will continue to work quickly to remove more every day.”
One of those terminated channels was Toy Freaks, who, as CrimeOnline previously reported, uploaded multiple videos that featured Illinois dad Greg Chism tormenting his young daughters and posing them in ways that appealed to pedophiles. The channel had more than 8 million subscribers when YouTube shut it down last week.
Toy Freaks removal apparently the biggest channel termination ever. But why did it take us flagging its videos for action to be taken? @Google had to have known that one of its most popular channels was posting exploitative, shocking (and monetised) content for years. https://t.co/mJJRQefEqQ
— Alexi Mostrous (@AlexiMostrous) November 17, 2017
YouTube also said Wednesday that they’ve strengthened their algorithms to demonetize an additional 500,000 videos that featured family-friendly characters (e.g. cartoons) engaging in violent, sexual or other offensive behavior.
One of the biggest changes the company is implementing is comment sections where “inappropriate sexual or predatory” remarks are made about minors will be completely shut down.
“Comments of this nature are abhorrent and we work with NCMEC [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children] to report illegal behavior to law enforcement,” they wrote.
Though YouTube created their Kids app to provide children a safe outlet to watch engaging, entertaining videos, multiple reports uncovered that the platform was inundated with explicit content. The website said that they’ve heard parents’ concerns and will be providing family-friendly creators with guidance to ensure that quality content is on the app.
Acknowledging the nuance that comes with moderating kid-friendly content, YouTube announced that they’ll be doubling the number of their trusted flaggers to better understand how to handle “challenging” adult content that doesn’t cater to children but might appeal to them.
“We’re wholly committed to addressing these issues and will continue to invest the engineering and human resources needed to get it right,” Wright concluded.
“As a parent and as a leader in this organization, I’m determined that we do.”
[Featured Image: Toy Freaks video screenshot]