Speaking for first time about pedophilia scandal, YouTube CEO promises to keep comments off of kids videos

  • YouTube’s CEO is trying to tell parents and advertisers that the company will do more to keep its youngest users safe amid reports of predatory behaviour in video comment sections.
  • CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company will no longer allow comments on videos that feature young children or “risky behaviour” by minors.
  • Disney and other companies pulled advertising from YouTube after the latest reports, and YouTube said it shut down 400 channels and deleted huge numbers of comments in response.

YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki is trying to reassure parents and advertisers after the company faced another round of criticism that it’s enabled the exploitation of children.

“We take kids’ safety incredibly seriously,” CEO Susan Wojcicki said in an interview Friday. “We are no longer going to allow comments on videos that are featuring young minors and older minors that are engaged in risky behaviour.”

Wojcicki told Kara Swisher of ReCode that the changes might upset or inconvenience young people with YouTube channels, but those problems were worth it if they keep people safe.

Read more:

YouTube purged over 400 channels and millions of videos in response to rising concerns about child exploitation

YouTube said it recently said it shut down more than 400 channels and disabled comments on tens of millions of videos following reports of predatory comments. Major companies including Google and Epic Games pulled their advertising from YouTube after those reports.

Speaking at the Lesbians Who Teach conference in San Francisco, Wojicicki said YouTube removes hundreds of millions of comments from videos every quarter, but that the volume of comments and videos is enormous. She said the company is increasingly relying on algorithms to deal with those comments and take down troubling videos.

The company also recently changed its recommendations algorithm after complaints that users were quickly steered toward conspiracy theories or hate speech. It also said makers of anti-vaccine videos would no longer be allowed to run ads.

Wojicicki says YouTube activated more powerful tools to find comments that could include abuse. But YouTube has also been criticised for failing to act on reports of exploitative videos or comments.

Two years ago hundreds of companies pulled their advertising from YouTube because their ads were appearing next to extremist content. The boycott ended after the company promised changes.

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