YouTube to use machine learning to detect and age restrict content

YouTube have announced their plans to go even harder on age restricting content with expansion of their automatic detection technology.

YouTube have been enforcing stricter rules on how content is graded on their platform and who is able to view them. In an attempt to simultaneously make YouTube a safer platform for younger audiences and to appease their advertisers position on videos, YouTube have been age-restricting videos they deem to contain adult content.

There have been two significant moves to truly separate content that is and isn’t appropriate for younger audiences. The launch of YouTube Kids, curated just for users under 13 has provided a standalone platform of age-appropriate content, and age-restrictions on certain videos which require a sign-in from an account of someone over 18 to watch.

Deeper use machine-learning to detect mature content

The second measure is being expanded as YouTube have announced deeper use of machine-learning technology to detect mature content. Once detected, videos will be age-restricted and require a sign-in from an adult account.

Users are able to appeal the decision if they feel their content is suitable for under 18s but it is at YouTube’s discretion what they deem to be eligible and what they don’t. Considering most mature videos “violate” YouTube’s advertising guidelines it is unlikely to affect revenues but may impact on view count.

YouTube will review their policies for fairness

Many users have been unhappy about the increasing restrictions on YouTube but with pressure from advertisers they’ve needed to find a balance between the huge catalogue of mature content which many people enjoy on YouTube and the advertisers unwillingness to support it.

YouTube have promised to review their policies on what constitutes an age-rating on YouTube. They wish to assure users that, with increasing measures, they are applying restrictions only where necessary and justified.

European users may be asked to provide proof of age

With their expansion of age-restriction, YouTube will be requiring age verification from certain audiences in Europe. Users might be asked to provide proof of their age to access content for over-18s or else might be restricted from viewing any content that requires verification.

These enforcements will all be increasing over the next few months.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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