YouTube stepped up enforcement of its guidelines for videos aimed at children, the unit of Alphabet Inc's Google said on Wednesday, responding to criticism that it has failed to protect children from adult content. It includes sexual, extremist and unhealthy videos shown on the platform.
YouTube has "expanded its enforcement guidelines" concerning the removal of content featuring minors "that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader's intent", Johanna Wright, vice president of product management said in a statement.
Cadbury chocolates maker Mondelez, Lidl, Mars and other consumer goods marketers have pulled advertising from YouTube after The Times newspaper found the video sharing-site was showing clips of scantily clad children alongside the ads of major brands. The channel had more than 8 million subscribers when YouTube shut it down last week. A British writer, James Bridle, also listed some of the questionable videos in his online essay published recently. The company partners closely with regional authorities and experts to help enforce these policies and report to law enforcement through NCMEC.
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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.
YouTube reiterated its recent toughening of its guidelines for kids programming, noting in the past week it had disabled comments on "thousands of videos" that could be targeted by predators and shut down "hundreds of accounts" of users posting predatory comments.
YouTube announced Wednesday that they're taking steps to combat child exploitation on the platform.
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As Koerber reported, videos that appeared in search results on YouTube Kids were selected by an algorithm and were not subject to human review, according to Google's support page for YouTube at the time. In August, a volunteer told BBC that "there is no reliable way for a concerned parent, child in danger, or anyone else to reliably report and get action on a predatory channel".
As part of the changes, YouTube will be evaluating its verification policy. "Thank you but this can't just be some press release".
In response, a YouTube spokesman said: "There shouldn't be any ads running on this content and we are working urgently to fix this". Some people also questioned why the video hosting giant took so long to tackle the problem.
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