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YouTube Overhauls Children’s App After Complaints About Content

YouTube Overhauls Kids' App

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In addition, YouTube will provide links to Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica with controversial videos or conspiratorial issues such as the Moon landing. 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.

Also Read: Facebook, YouTube dominate social media use in US

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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This New YouTube Feature Aims to Stop Unauthorised Content Re-uploads

"YouTube Partner Programme" lets creators with 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and over a 1,000 subscribers, monetise their content on YouTube

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The feature would start rolling out from next week to YouTube creators with more than one lakh subscribers.
The feature would start rolling out from next week to YouTube creators with more than one lakh subscribers. Pixabay

Google-owned YouTube is introducing a feature called “Copyright Match Tool” designed for YouTube creators who have problems with unauthorised re-uploads of their content.

With the new feature, after a new video is uploaded, YouTube would run a scan to see if there is any other video that resembles the uploaded video very much or is the same and if there is a “match”, it would appear on the “matches” tab, YouTube wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

“We’ve been testing this tool with creators for nearly a year to make it safe and effective for the whole community,” the company said.

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YouTube on a smartphone. Pixabay

If in case a match of an already uploaded content is found, the original uploader would have the option of getting in touch with the other creator or request YouTube to remove the re-uploaded content.

The feature would start rolling out from next week to YouTube creators with more than one lakh subscribers.

Also Read: YouTube to Invest $25mn in Countering Fake News

“As this is a powerful feature, we will monitor usage closely and will continue to expand over the coming months with the long-term goal of making it available to every creator in the ‘YouTube Partner programme,” the blog post added.

“YouTube Partner Programme” lets creators with 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and over a 1,000 subscribers, monetise their content on YouTube. (IANS)