YouTube using machine learning to age restrict inappropriate videos later this year

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In recent years YouTube has had an issue with regard to inappropriate videos being posted onto its platform, with its standalone Kids site also suffering in this aspect. In order to better handle the viewing of inappropriate content for users who are under age, YouTube has announced that it will use machine learning later in the year.

Given time, the machine learning algorithm will be able to age gate inappropriate content uploaded to the site, the company explains.

“Going forward, we will build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions,” a recent YouTube blog post confirmed.

“Uploaders can appeal the decision if they believe it was incorrectly applied. For creators in the YouTube Partner Program, we expect these automated age-restrictions to have little to no impact on revenue, as most of these videos also violate our advertiser-friendly guidelines and therefore have limited or no ads,” it adds.

Hopefully the latter aspect is handled effectively, especially as demonetisation continues to be an issue on the site to this day for many creators.

YouTube is also looking at ways to stop people from working around this newly proposed machine learning measure.

“To make sure the experience is consistent, viewers attempting to access age-restricted videos on most third-party websites will be redirected to YouTube where they must sign-in and be over 18 to view it,” the blog post continues.

Whether this can indeed have the desired impact remains to be seen, but as we have seen in the past with YouTube’s machine learning algorithm, and algorithms in general, it isn’t always a smooth process, not to mention inherit bias constantly being a factor that needs to be addressed.

Either way, the fines for violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), it is clear that YouTube wants to ensure it does not have to pay up again should younger users view inappropriate videos.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.