Many months ago, major advertisers headed for the door due to an alleged pedophile ring that was leaving untoward comments on kid’s videos on YouTube. Instead of clamping down on illegal preteen accounts, YouTube disabled comments on videos that had kids in them regardless of who was responsible for the content and how responsible the channel owner was. Basically, if a video contains a kid in it, comments can be banned to prevent the leaving ickyness. At the same time, blatant COPPA violations have continued including YouTube deleting a comment from a 10-year-old where he admitted his age. They removed actual knowledge under COPPA. The channel was allowed to stand without the age confession and the child got around the comment ban by holding live feeds where he accepted money from adults.
To compound this sloppiness, YouTube demonitized and comment blocked family channels ran by parents and even adults who had videos of themselves when they were less than 18 years old. This includes Burke BunchTV (https://www.youtube.com/user/tchzwalp), Alec in WILDerland ran by a now 18-year-old (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEGFdjQ8LIw) but previously professionally produced and maintained by adults and the eclectic and profane Maximus Thor (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzydWtf2Y5XQqKeEnO4gOvQ) which Maximus is a character and the channel is produced by his father.
So, what went right?
I give no credit to YouTube for the comment blocking because they not only have not introduced new ways to confront the preteen problem, they have made it worse by erasing evidence self-reported by underage channel owners. To take away up to a decade of comments from an adult ran channel when a kid is present in an older video is a serious blow to adults running their own channels. Comments are a lifeblood for creators that allows for feedback and suggestions. They are affirmations to the channel owner and help guide the direction of the channel. To remove comments from parent ran accounts is lazy and no advertiser should come back because of this “fix”. Demonitization picks the pockets of channel owners and denies advertisers from posting products on legitimate videos.
What went right is simple. Kids want the same affirmation. Without comments they don’t get to interact, and they are posting less because of it. The 10-year-old mentioned above hasn’t posted in two months. There is no way to report an age violation per day so even in the face of actual knowledge of his age they let him stay
YouTube got caught not policing its site and are punishing creators instead of putting in tools to kick off preteens. This 10-year-old kid has 2,388 subscribers and more than 700K on one video of him modeling a Speedo. There’s all kind of things wrong with this account including that it was created when he was 1 year old and has his real name listed.
Hopefully we’ll see tools that allow adults being allowed to moderate their own channels and one day see YouTube take COPPA seriously. In the meantime, I hope YouTube doesn’t get let off the hook after so many years of avoiding COPPA violations.
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