YouTube will now take more aggressive action to prevent predatory comments on children's videos. According to a blog post, YouTube will suspend comments on videos featuring minors "likely to cause predatory behavior." This measure is designed to prevent predatory commentators from coming together in the comments section of these videos.
Although the word "all" is not used to describe "no comment" videos, YouTube explains that only a "small number" of creators will be able to keep comment sections enabled in videos that include children.
"These channels will actively moderate their comments, beyond the use of our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior," says the YouTube blog. "We will work directly with them and our goal is to increase that number over time, as our ability to capture abusive feedback continues to improve."
How did we come here?
YouTube continues to double after last week's controversy over a wormhole for pedophilia discovered on the platform. A few clicks on video results for search terms such as "bikini haul" would produce a recommended section filled with suggestive, provocative and disturbing videos of minors. Many comments left on these videos have been correctly described as predatory and encouraging pedophilia.
Advertisements were shown on some of these predatory videos, and these companies were not happy with YouTube once they became aware of this controversy. Ad-pocalypse 3.0 (Maybe 4.0? We lost count.) Followed, companies like Nestle, Disney and Fornite The creator Epic Games has pulled his commercials from the platform.
In response, YouTube decided to fight predator video creators and commentators by temporarily disabling comments on tens of millions of videos featuring minors and removing hundreds of channels. However, non-predatory videos have become bogged down, provoking the indignation of the great creators and bloggers "dad and daddy" who mainly publish videos including their children. This did not dispel fears when YouTube also limited ads showing videos featuring minors.
Enter on YouTube's blog today, which was probably written to clarify the company's position on comments and videos featuring children and teenagers, as well as to set up a new policy. However, it remains to be determined whether YouTube's new strategy involves automatically disabling the Comments section on recently released videos containing minors or retroactively disabling comments on existing videos. We assume that YouTube will do both, but we contacted the company for clarification. YouTube has also just launched a new comment classifier, which will detect and remove even more predatory comments than ever before.
Why creators were (and will continue to) be frustrated
Although the idea of losing advertising revenue has frustrated some creators, others have been just as passionate about keeping their comment sections alive – and rightly so. Many creators use the comment sections of their videos to interact with their subscribers. For some, comments are the most interactive part of their YouTube channels. Losing this puts a big barrier between many creators and their viewers.
But YouTube does not have many other options in this scenario. YouTube and Google in general do not want to be seen as promoters of pedophilia or the perpetuation of content that could harm minors. A general policy was therefore inevitable.
But like most important political changes on YouTube, it's the small creators who feel the effects the most. This is good in some respects, as some YouTube channels are only created to create and share predatory videos. But parents vlogging for the first time probably will not be able to use the comments section to develop.
Notably, it is unclear if some creators will be able to request permission to reactivate their comment sections. However, YouTube has updated its original statement to make it clear that predatory channels will permanently lose comment privileges.
"Based on our review of historical comments, a small number of channels that we identified as high risk of predatory comments will not be able to reactivate comments, even in moderation," the statement said. "The owners of these channels will be informed of these actions."