YouTube CEO defends comment ban on minors’ videos

At the sixth annual Lesbians Who Tech Summit last Friday in San Francisco, Wojcicki defended YouTube’s ban on comments on videos targeting children.

To combat violence against children on the platform, YouTube has put in place a comment ban. Essentially, the ban prohibits comments on videos of young children or of adolescents participating in what is deemed to be risky behavior. The ban was put in place because many videos featuring minors were being targeted by sexual predators. In total, YouTube has shut down more than 400 channels and that number could grow.

“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 behavior.”

Without a doubt, YouTube’s decision to disable comments on young people’s videos is controversial. Wojcicki knows this, but she believes that disabling comments is worth it to keep children safe.

“I’m a mom, I have five kids from 4 to 19,” she stated at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. “I understand kids, and as a parent I really want to do the right thing.”

Getting the algorithm involved with the comment ban

YouTube does remove hundreds of millions of comments from videos each quarter. However, the sheer number of comments that have to be reviewed is massive. Wojcicki says YouTube is increasingly relying on its algorithms to handle the comments and to take down videos that violate policy.

Will there be another adpocalypse in the future?

Due to this controversy, many advertisers, including Disney and Nestlé, pulled their ads from YouTube. Many worry that more brands are going to pull their ads and cause another adpocalypse. Despite YouTube’s strong response to the controversy, most brands have yet to resume advertising on the platform. Still, YouTube is working to expand its operation to prevent more brands from leaving and to protect its child community.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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