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YouTube Overhauls Children’s App After Complaints About Content

YouTube Overhauls Kids' App

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YouTube overhauls kids children. Pixabay
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YouTube is overhauling its kid-focused video app to give parents the option of letting humans, not computer algorithms, select what shows their children can watch.

The updates that begin rolling out April 26, 2018, are a response to complaints that the YouTube Kids app has repeatedly failed to filter out disturbing content.

Google-owned YouTube launched the toddler-oriented app in 2015. It has described it as a “safer” experience than the regular YouTube video-sharing service for finding “Peppa Pig” episodes or watching user-generated videos of people unboxing toys, teaching guitar lessons or experimenting with science.

Failure of screening system

In order to meet U.S. child privacy rules, Google says it bans kids under 13 from using its core video service. But its official terms of agreement are largely ignored by tens of millions of children and their families who don’t bother downloading the under-13 app.

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Both the grown-up video service and the YouTube Kids app have been criticized by child advocates for their commercialism and for the failures of a screening system that relies on artificial intelligence. The app is engineered to automatically exclude content that’s not appropriate for kids, and recommend videos based on what children have watched before. That hasn’t always worked to parents’ liking — especially when videos with profanity, violence or sexual themes slip through the filters.

Representational image for YouTube.
Representational image. Pixabay

Updates give parents option

The updates allow parents to switch off the automated system and choose a contained selection of children’s programming such as Sesame Street and PBS Kids. But the automated system remains the default.

“For parents who like the current version of YouTube Kids and want a wider selection of content, it’s still available,” said James Beser, the app’s product director, in a blog post Wednesday. “While no system is perfect, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more-open version of our app.”

Beser also encouraged parents to block videos and flag them for review if they don’t think they should be on the app. But the practice of addressing problem videos after children have already been exposed to them has bothered child advocates who want the more controlled option to be the default.

Also Read: YouTube videos may not help toddlers learn new things

Cleaner, safer kids’ app

“Anything that gives parents the ability to select programming that has been vetted in some fashion by people is an improvement, but I also think not every parent is going to do this,” said Josh Golin, director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “Giving parents more control doesn’t absolve YouTube of the responsibility of keeping the bad content out of YouTube Kids.”

He said Google should aim to build an even cleaner and safer kids’ app, then pull all the kid-oriented content off the regular YouTube — where most kids are going — and onto that app.

Golin’s group recently asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether YouTube’s data collection and advertising practices violate federal child privacy rules. He said advocates plan to meet with FTC officials next week.  VOA

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YouTube to Add Another Service For Its Users From May 22

YouTube will release the service from May 22 in America, Australia and New Zealand and will "expand more broadly" in the coming weeks.

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YouTube is rolling out a new service
YouTube music will separate the movies and music section on the platform. Pixabay

YouTube is rolling out a new service “YouTube Music” on May 22 to seperate the music and film components on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.

“YouTube Music” is a mobile app and desktop player with multiple playlists, official albums and artists to prevent users from jumping back and forth between multiple apps and YouTube, the company said in a blog post.

“While users can enjoy the new ad-supported version of ‘YouTube Music’ for free, we’re also launching ‘YouTube Music Premium,’ a paid membership that gives you background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience for $9.99 a month,” the post added.

YouTube will release the service from May 22 in America, Australia and New Zealand and will “expand more broadly” in the coming weeks.

It is yet to be announced when it will come to India.

YouTube is rolling out a new service "YouTube Music" on May 22 to seperate the music and film components on the Google-owned video-sharing platform.
YouTube to launch YouTube Music Service for its users. Pixabay

With the increasing penetration of smartphones, data becoming affordable and ever-growing availability of content, 80 per cent of internet users across all age-groups in India are accessing YouTube.

Touching 225 million monthly active users on mobile alone, India is one of the fastest-growing countries for the video platform, the company had said in March.

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“We now have more than 300 channels with over a million subscribers, from just 16 channels in 2014. We will continue to invest in programmes to support creators, and encourage more diversity and distribution of their content,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube.

“YouTube Music” was a part of “YouTube Red,” that is the company’s subscription video streaming service which was launched in November 2014. (IANS)