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YouTube Makes a Big Move Against Pedophiles

Suspends comments on almost all videos that feature kids
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 1, 2019 4:30 AM CST
YouTube says it will turn off comments on most videos that feature kids.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(Newser) – YouTube said Thursday it will turn off comments on nearly all videos featuring kids—potentially affecting millions of posts on the site—after reports last week that pedophiles were leaving inappropriate comments on innocuous videos of children. The change comes as YouTube grapples with moderating content across its platform as concerns about hate speech, violence, and conspiracy theories continue to plague it, the AP reports. It will take YouTube several months to disable comments on all videos featuring minors, the company said. It already started the process last week when it turned off comments from tens of millions of videos.

Advertisers including Nestle, AT&T, and Fortnite-maker Epic Games pulled ads from YouTube last week after the inappropriate comments about children were unearthed by a popular YouTuber and media reports. At least one company, Nestle, was satisfied with YouTube's response and reinstated ads late last week. A small number of channels which have videos featuring kids will be allowed to keep comments turned on. But they must be known to YouTube and must actively monitor the comments beyond the standard monitoring tools YouTube provides. Turning off comments on so many videos seems an "extreme reaction," says eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. But the issue involves the safety of children, so it makes sense YouTube would want to act quickly, he says.

(Read more YouTube stories.)

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