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YouTube to crack down on abusive videos targeting children

05 December 2017

Promising to crack down on those uploading abusive videos on YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, CEO, said in a blog post published late yesterday that protecting both YouTube viewers as also advertisers from exploitative content would require ''a new approach to advertising on YouTube.''

The comments come following a massive backlash against inappropriate videos targeting young viewers, and often featuring children in abusive situations, and comments from predators targeting young viewers on the platform.

It was reported about a month ago that characters popular among children were being used in bizarre and exploitative videos. The videos often abused tags in order to be displayed on YouTube's Kids app and slip through age restrictions filters. Some of the videos also featured underage children in suggestive situations, and attracted comments from sexual predators.

YouTube removed the channels highlighted in reports in response, but advertisers nevertheless started to withhold their budgets from the video service. Yesterday Wojcicki said that Google had plans to expand the team of people to address content policy violations to over 10,000 next year.

She also pointed out that YouTube had taken down 150,000 videos uploaded by violent extremists, since June alone.

YouTube has developed automated software to identify videos linked to extremism and intends to use the same approach with clips that portray hate speech or are unsuitable for children.

People who upload videos that are flagged by the software may be ineligible for generating ad revenue.

However even as it steps up enforcement, the company has received complaints from video uploaders that the software is not free from error.

Increasing the number of existing content reviewers will give YouTube more data to supply and possibly improve its machine learning software, according to commentators.

''We need an approach that does a better job determining which channels and videos should be eligible for advertising,'' Wojcicki said. ''We've heard loud and clear from creators that we have to be more accurate when it comes to reviewing content, so we don't demonetize videos by mistake.''

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