LOS ANGELES — YouTube has many problems: conspiracy and fake news videos, and people using the platform to spread hate.
And when the No. 1 category on the network is children’s programming, that’s not a good mix.
According to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube is considering taking radical action by removing these children’s videos and moving them to the little used YouTube Kids app. The app was created in 2015 to offer parents a safer, more curated place for their kids.
You have to be at least 13 to view grown-up YouTube as a registered user, but many kids get around the technicality by watching on their parents accounts.
With all the problems YouTube has had monitoring kids programming, moving the programming to the Kids app, “makes a lot of sense,” says Joshua Cohen, the co-founder of the TubeFilter blog,
On TubeFilter’s most recent chart of the most viewed YouTube channels in the U.S. , 6 of the top 10 were programs aimed at young kids, representing 1.6 billion views in one week alone, rounded out by channels for WWE wrestling, video games, crafts and movie trailers.
The YouTube Kids app is designed for the youngest of kids, sort of a Sesame Street meets PBS Kids. Parents can sign in and determine how many hours their children get to watch, and which videos they can see. But there’s very little there for the 9-13 year-old age groups.
Separately, the Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, is reporting that the U.S. government is investigating YouTube for its handling of children’s videos. The Post says the Federal Trade Commission launched the probe in response to complaints from consumer groups and privacy advocates.
In recent weeks, YouTube has made several announcements about trying to reign in the controversial hate speech and conspiracy videos, the sort of stuff no parent would want their young child to see.
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In early June, YouTube said it would ban videos touting white supremacy and hate, as well as those that take issue with established facts, like the false claims that the Holocaust and Sandy Hook murders were real. Additionally, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the gay and lesbian community over the handling of recent anti-gay comments on the video platform.
“I know that the decisions we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that wasn’t our intention at all,” Wojcicki said at the recent Code tech conference.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai weighed in on CNN over the weekend, saying that dealing with trying to police good videos versus abuses was “one of the hardest things. In some ways, companies alone aren’t fully equipped to handle problems like that, so I think there is a lot of work ahead.”
In a statement, Google said it considered “lots of ideas for improving YouTube and some remain just that–ideas. Others, we develop and launch, like our restrictions to minors live streaming or updated hate speech policy.”
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