YouTube Changes Penalty System After Pedophilia Flap

  • by February 20, 2019
Google’s YouTube changed its penalty systemthat suspends accounts for violating its community guidelines after the latest brand-safety controversy. The action follows criticism of the video-sharing platform for monetizing videos that exploit children.

Starting on February 25, YouTube’s revised “strikes system” will give a one-time warning to users who post content that crosses the line, with no penalties to their channel except for the removal of that content.

YouTube currently has a “three strikes and you’re out” system.

In announcing the change, YouTube said that 98% of its users don’t break the rules, and when they do, they’re given a chance to review the guidelines and make changes before being banned. YouTube said 94% of users who receive their first strike never get a second one, demonstrating the effectiveness of its policy.



YouTuber Matt Watson posted a bombshell video that demonstrated how pedophiles are posting inappropriate comments below videos of children. Those posts include timestamps that point out compromising segments of little girls doing gymnastics poses, demonstrating their “morning routines” or licking Popsicles.

Watson also showed how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm has a loophole that shows additional videos in the sidebar that pedophiles may find appealing. He said YouTube is helping to monetize sexual exploitation of children.

The latest controversy again demonstrates the dangers for brands whose ads appear alongside objectionable user-generated content.

Diageo, Cadbury, Hewlett-Packard and Adidas suspended their spending on YouTube in November 2017 amid claims the video platform placed ads next to images of young girls filming themselves in underwear, doing the splits, brushing their teeth or rolling around in bed.

While the children may have posted the videos to show off innocently to other kids, pedophiles seek out the content by searching for keywords in Russian that showed young Slavic girls, the Times of London reported.

YouTube has difficulty in identifying the context of videos and potential for abuse, especially since 400 hours of new content are being uploaded to the platform every minute. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that most of the videos Watson flagged are innocent recordings of children doing everyday things.

YouTube needs to do a better job of understanding the problem, putting more resources into quashing predatory activities on its platform. Unfortunately, advertisers also need to keep an eye on their ad placements to ensure they’re not inadvertently subsidizing a playground for pedophiles.

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