YouTube narrowly missed a manual review program for all child-themed videos posted on its platform. According to sources heard by the international press, the project has come to a stage where a press release was written, before it was dropped by CEO Susan Wojcicki. This is because the executive feared the approach between the service and traditional television networks in relation to the rules of conduct that must be followed.
The idea was part of a project called "Crosswalk," or "Crosswalk," in English translation. It would be a reference to the different warnings that exist at crossing points on major avenues and, precisely, the kind of work that YouTube wants to do with children's videos, indicating the best way forward and ensuring the safety of those passing by. Forty employees would be part of the team, dedicated to creating content curation proposals, security and especially video review systems for the little ones.
The idea of manual and individual review would have emerged after one of the many such scandals faced by YouTube this year. In one of the main, childish and apparently innocent videos contained clips, often of a few seconds, with disturbing or violent images inciting suicide, self-mutilation and other similar acts. The lines appeared amid seemingly innocent cartoon episodes and often used the images of the child characters themselves to get the message across.
Such material would even be passed through the protective barrier imposed by YouTube Kids, an application dedicated exclusively to the small, which would only bring age-indicated material or published by certified channels, to deliver only appropriate and educational content. Reports of parents accumulated on social networks while the company even denied what happened, then working to contain the fire.
At the time, YouTube said it was working to prevent such content from reaching the platform and especially children. The proliferation of complaints, on the other hand, showed that efforts had been insufficient, leading to the idea of Crosswalk, which would definitely make YouTube's child environment safer, but also extend the processing and approval time of video devoted to YouTube. Children's audience.
Such content curation, on the other hand, would bring additional responsibilities for the service. Wojcicki, who was responsible for ruling out the initiative, thought YouTube would move closer to television networks and news companies, which are guilty in case of copyright infringing content, hate speech, threats and other types of content deemed inappropriate, especially for children. Given the amount of material posted on the platform, it would be a herculean task and an impractical responsibility.
It is not known, however, to what extent other measures implemented in 2019 were authored by the Crosswalk team. Among the changes promoted by YouTube to increase the security of its platform are the disabling of comments on children's videos and settings that need to be applied by all creators, indicating whether or not a channel is suitable for little ones. YouTube does not speak of specific numbers, but said that, among other measures, they were able to increase legitimate channel views by 60% and reduce the total of content that violates its policies by 80%.
According to Wojcicki herself, in an interview with CBS, manually filtering all content posted on YouTube would be impossible. According to the latest official data, there are 500 hours of material published every second on the platform, with the executive stating that the company cannot be held responsible for this volume of videos produced by its users either.
A $ 170 million fine was imposed on Google by the United States Federal Trade Commission for violations of child privacy rules. The company was accused of irregularly collecting data from minors for display on YouTube in what was the biggest penalty in a series of punishments. Meanwhile, other processes and investigations into similar practices are still going on in forums around the world, including in Brazil.