YouTube on Thursday said it has started disabling comments on videos of minors following accusations that the platform aided pedophiles in finding clips of young children.
The company, which is owned by Alphabet, said it has turned off comments on “tens of millions” of videos over the past week that could be subject to “predatory behavior.” It will continue to identify such videos over the next few months.
“We recognize that comments are a core part of the YouTube experience and how you connect with and grow your audience. At the same time, the important steps we’re sharing today are critical for keeping young people safe,” the company wrote in a blog post.
Last week, video creator Matt Watson said YouTube’s algorithm created a “worm hole” that let pedophiles easily find clips of young children performing activities such as gymnastics or yoga using the website’s recommended videos feature. Some users left comments specifying what times minors were seen in “compromising positions.”
Over the next few months, YouTube says it will widen its efforts to shut off comments on videos featuring young minors under 13, as well as older minors under 18 that could attract “predatory” actions.