YouTube disables comments on videos featuring kids

Mom says videos on YouTube Kids are encouraging suicide

YouTube, facing severe backlash over child exploitation on the site, on Thursday turned off comments on most videos featuring minors.

YouTube will turn off comments on all videos that contain young children, the company says, as well as a number of other enforcement actions created to stave off an advertiser boycott sparked by the discovery of an organised paedophile ring operating in plain sight on the video-sharing platform.

YouTube said it will ban comments on virtually all videos featuring young minors amid concerns over child predators.

YouTube says it will switch off comments on nearly all videos featuring under-18s, in an attempt to "better protect children and families".

The company also plans to bar comments on videos featuring older minors if they're deemed to be "at risk" of attracting pedophiles' attention. Seven months earlier she had posted a complaint from another mother, who had come across the same video sequence on another video aimed specifically at young children.

The Alphabet-owned company is also launching a new comments classifier that will identify and remove predatory comments, with YouTube promising the detection and consequential removal of twice as many comments.

Companies in New Zealand and globally have been abandoning the internet giant after an extensive number of sexual comments posted on innocent videos of children was exposed.

Wilson-Raybould vs Trudeau: What political interference looks like
The prime minister said the federal ethics commissioner, Mario Dion, will settle disagreements over what happened. A conviction could bar the company from bidding on Canadian government business, potentially devastating it.

Additionally, YouTube said it intends to take action on creators who cause "egregious harm" to the community. Many creators use the comments sections of their videos to interact with their followers, and for some, comments are the most interactive part of their YouTube channels.

Several large advertisers, including AT&T Inc. and Kellogg Co., pulled spending from YouTube last week after comments on the service were used to identify video clips of young girls participating in activities such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics.

YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki said: "Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safety of young people on the platform".

CBC reports that a children's cartoon video was found to have a suicide-related sequence hidden at around the five minute mark - in other words, deliberately buried so as to be inconspicuous.

If content violates YouTube's policy, it will be removed and an email will be sent to the creator. But they must be known to YouTube and must actively monitor the comments beyond the standard monitoring tools YouTube provides.

Comments posted on the videos included messages such as, "You're pretty and your girlfriends are nice too".

"Our advertising will only restart if we are satisfied that Google's actions taken to address the problem are sufficient and will be effective", a Transport Agency spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

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