One of those changes is the reporting feature, where if a user flags a video as inappropriate in the main YouTube app and if they’re signed into their account, after reviewing it and if the video is found to be in violation of the new policy, that video will then be automatically blocked from showing up in the Kids app. If a video with recognizable children’s characters gets flagged in YouTube’s main app, which is much larger than the Kids app, it will be sent to the policy review team.
Unusual and disturbing videos on YouTube, specifically aimed at kids, seem to have morphed into a genre by itself. If you find a video aimed at kids inappropriate for kids to watch, you can click on the three dots next to the “add video to playlist” button and click on Report and flag the video. The new rule covers any inappropriate usage of family-friendly characters, meaning that weird videos meant to reel in kids on the brand power of well-known characters can be excluded from the app even if they don’t have any content that would otherwise be considered inappropriate.
As videos typically take a few days to make it to YouTube Kids from the normal YouTube site, the company is hoping that people flag content that is potentially disturbing for children within that time. “The YouTube team is made up of parents who are committed to improving our apps and getting this right”.
The changes follow the publication of a popular Medium article and a New York Times story about the thousands of disturbing videos on YouTube that target young viewers.
The company is now implementing new age restrictions that will lead to better filtering of videos. It’s in the process of training its team of moderators, which review videos on its site, to recognize and flag such videos.
While the policy is a welcome change for parents anxious about the content their kids may see on a user-generated platform such as YouTube, it appears that the new policy will still rely heavily on algorithms, and on someone spotting the problem content first. Although the inappropriate, knockoff videos depict those characters in lewd, violent, or disturbing scenarios, YouTube often lists them alongside benign official videos from the characters’ owners. With over 800 million learning video views per day, YouTube Kids is now live in 37 countries. Even with those videos demonetized, makers could still profit from more subscriptions and higher view count by putting out other videos that can make money and waiting for fans to stumble upon them.
The move to restrict access to the flagged videos was not a direct response to the recent press reports but has been in the works for some time, YouTube told The Verge. In August, the company updated its advertising policy to bar such videos from including ads.