YouTube has banned “younger minors” from livestreaming on Monday morning unless they’re joined by an adult, making the decision shortly after The New York Times reported that the Google-owned video giant’s automated system was recommending videos of minors after users had searched for “sexually themed content.”
Reps for YouTube did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the age range covered by “younger minors.”
“We updated enforcement of our live streaming policy to specifically disallow younger minors from live streaming unless they are clearly accompanied by an adult,” a YouTube blog post said on Monday. “Channels not in compliance with this policy may lose their ability to live stream.”
The company added it would be using new machine learning tools to identify and remove livestreams that violated its rules.
Earlier in the morning, the Times reported YouTube’s algorithm routinely led viewers to videos of underage children after they’d searched for sexual content. (YouTube’s policies ban nudity, pornography and “sexually explicit content featuring minors.”)
“Users do not need to look for videos of children to end up watching them. The platform can lead them there through a progression of recommendations,” the Times reported Monday. “So a user who watches erotic videos might be recommended videos of women who become conspicuously younger, and then women who pose provocatively in children’s clothes. Eventually, some users might be presented with videos of girls as young as 5 or 6 wearing bathing suits, or getting dressed or doing a split.”
YouTube, in its blog post, said: “responsibility is our number one priority, and chief among our areas of focus is protecting minors and families.”
YouTube’s updated rules come after the company deleted hundreds of thousands of comments, and disabled comments on millions of videos after a viral video showed pedophiles were using its comment sections to trade contact information and child pornography. Major advertisers, including Disney and AT&T, suspended business with YouTube soon after.