YouTube bans comments on videos of minors after advertisers exit site over safety concerns

YouTube disables comments in response to brand safety crisis

YouTube is disabling comments on videos featuring minors as it continues efforts to quash child safety concerns that prompted brands to end their advertising relationship with the video platform.

AT&T, Hasbro, Nestle, Disney and Epic Games all pulled out of YouTube after one blogger found a ring of pedophiles communicating and sharing disturbing links of children in the comment sections of videos featuring minors.

YouTube had already begun disabling comments on tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior. It will continue those efforts, and over the next few months YouTube will broaden 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 will open comment sections for a select number of creators who produce videos featuring minors.

According to a blog post from YouTube, "These channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior. We will work with them directly and our goal is to grow this number over time as our ability to catch violative comments continues to improve."

The Google-owned platform has also accelerated the launch of a comment classifier that will identify and remove predatory comments that it says will detect and remove comments twice as effectively as its previous version.

As YouTube continues to struggle with brand safety, some publishers are using it as an opportunity to market themselves as a safer alternative. Condé Nast is pushing its cross-platform video offerings as a viable alternative for advertisers.

This also isn't the only case of mismanaging child safety online. The US Federal Trade Commission hit TikTok with a record $5.7m fine for having illegally gathered the personal data of children aged 13 and under.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.