YouTube will now take stronger action to prevent the annoying comments being posted on videos of children. According to a blog post, YouTube will suspend comments on videos containing minors that "may be in danger of attracting predators." This action is designed to prevent predatory comments from being compiled in the comments field of such videos.
While the word "all" is not used to describe videos that should not comment, YouTube explains that only a "small" number of creators will be able to keep their comments sections enabled on videos that include children. 1
How to get here?
YouTube continues to double down last week's disagreement on a pedophile wormhole discovered on the platform. A few clicks on video results for keywords like "bikini haul" would produce a recommended section full of suggestive, provocative and disturbing videos of minors, many comments left on these videos became r really called out as predators and encouraging pedophilia.
Some of these predators had ads running over them, and those companies were not happy with YouTube when they found out about this controversy. What followed was ad-pocalypse 3.0 (maybe 4.0? We've lost count.) As companies like Nestle, Disney and Fornite creator Epic Games withdrew their ads from the platform.
In response, YouTube decided to fight both predators and commentators by temporarily disabling comments on tens of millions of videos with minors and deleting hundreds of channels. However, non-predator videos were recorded in the wave, sparking rebellion from major creators and "mother and father" vloggers who primarily post videos, including their kids. It didn't hide fear when YouTube restricted the ads running over some videos with minors.
Enter YouTube's blog post today, which was probably written to clarify the company's attitude to comments and videos with children and teenagers, as well as institute's new policy. However, it is unclear whether YouTube's new policy means that it automatically disables the comment section on newly created videos with minors, or whether it will disable comments on existing videos with feedback. We assume YouTube will do both, but we've come out to the company for clarification. YouTube has also just launched a new comment classifier, which will detect and remove even more preliminary comments than before.
Why creators were (and will continue) to be frustrated
While the idea of losing the ad dollar frustrated some creators, others were just as passionate about keeping their comments sections alive – and rightly so. Many creators use the comment sections of their videos to interact with their followers, and for some, comments are the most interactive part of their YouTube channels. Losing it puts a great barrier between many creators and their viewers.
But YouTube does not have many other options in this scenario. YouTube and Google generally will not be seen as promoting pedophilia or persistent content that could harm minors, so sweeping policies were inevitable.
But like most major political changes on YouTube, the small creators will be the ones who will feel the most impact. It's good in some ways, because some YouTube channels are created solely for the purpose of creating and sharing predatory videos. But first-time parents will probably not be able to use the comment section to grow a following.
In particular, there is no word about whether some creators will be able to petition to get their comments sections reactivated. But YouTube updated its original statement to make it clear that historically predatory channels will lose commentary privileges once and for all.
"Based on our review of historical comments, a small number of channels that we have identified as a high level of risky commentary comments will not be able to activate comments, even with moderation, the updated statement says." the channels will be notified of these actions. "