YouTube Will Now Block Comments From Predators Under The Videos Of Minors

24 November 2017, 12:46 | Updated: 24 November 2017, 13:05

YouTube Changes Guidelines To Protect Children
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

After noticing this disturbing trend, YouTube is changing its rules.

In a bid to tackle one of its most concerning problems, YouTube has announced that it is tightening up its site policy to protect content creators who are minors.

On their official Google blog, YouTube announced that it would be removing certain content and restricting site functions that could potentially put children at risk.

The blog post outlined, in no uncertain terms, that this was an effort to combat a growing trend of problematic content on the platform.

"In recent months, we've noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not," the company blog said.

This could be referencing a few unfortunate situations where content was either exploitative of children on a channel (i.e. distressing "family" pranks) or, even more concerning, predatory comments being left under videos of minors.

Last year, there were concerns raised about some children being coerced into creating content that fed into a very specific fetish called microphelia. Similarly,more recent reports about predatory comments being left under children's videos have sparked serious concerns for younger creators using the platform.

Young person looking at a phone in the dark
Picture: Getty Creative

How does YouTube plan to address the situation?

The changes, which are set to take place in the coming weeks and months, will aim to address unsafe content disguised as "family friendly".

Firstly, YouTube will work with law enforcement to identity and report content that may qualify as child endangerment. This comes months after a YouTuber couple lost custody of their kids and were sentenced to probation for "mistreating" them in a series of videos.

YouTube will also restrict commenting functions where they believe predatory behaviour is taking place.

"We have historically used a combination of automated systems and human flagging and review to remove inappropriate sexual or predatory comments on videos featuring minors. Comments of this nature are abhorrent and we work with NCMEC to report illegal behavior to law enforcement. Starting this week we will begin taking an even more aggressive stance by turning off all comments on videos of minors where we see these types of comments."

Moving forward, YouTube will provide additional guidelines to "family friendly" YouTubers on creating content and will also engage the help of experts in determining what content is harmful to younger viewers.