YouTube posted an update on their Creator Blog that provides an explanation of their actions related to the safety of minors. YouTube has disabled comments on videos featuring minors.
Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior. These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months. Over the next few months, we will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.
YouTube states that “a small number of creators” will be able to keep comments enabled on their videos that include minors. Those channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using YouTube’s moderating tools and must demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior.
YouTube has been “removing hundreds of millions of comments for violating our policies.” They have launched a more effective classifier that will identify and remove predatory comments. The classifier does not affect the monetization of a video. The new classifier can detect and remove 2X more individual comments.
The Guardian has information of what happened that led to YouTube’s decision. It is a disturbing situation, and it might be better for some people to avoid reading those details.
The situation prompted an advertiser boycott of YouTube. The Verge reported that major corporations like Disney, Nestlé and Epic Games (maker of Fortnite) had paused their ad spending after discovering their ads were playing on videos that had predatory comments on them.
It is possible that the advertiser boycott was what influenced YouTube to take additional steps to protect minors. Even so, it is good that those protections are now being put in place. In addition to removing comments, YouTube has terminated channels that attempt to endanger children in any way.