YouTube is Struggling to Protect Children From Potential Abusers

Fortune
YouTube has a very large network of security measures for moderating content. They have an in-house team of moderators, an algorithmic flagging system and a broad volunteer service called Trusted Flaggers. Of the three, Trusted Flaggers is the widest reaching, and in some senses the most useful, since they relay vital feedback to the company about significant issues. Recently, a number of them have stated that YouTube is struggling to deal with child endangerment.

Allegedly, a massive backlog of reports going back months has built up, as only a small percentage of complaints about such issues are formally addressed. It's a problem that extends to pretty much every kind of flag-worthy content on the platform, but it's especially pronounced in this case because reports left unaddressed could leave children in danger. In one particular case, a reporter claimed that he had made over 9,000 reports in a single month and not even one was taken forward.

The sheer volume of reports being made is, of course, difficult for YouTube to handle, but the wider issue at play here is that there simply is not enough security on the site to protect children. Many of the reports made concern comments on videos either made by or featuring young teens, sometimes asking them to undress or behave in a sexually explicit way, and sometimes trying to lure them onto private chat channels.

Some have theorised that there's a sizeable pedophile ring operating on YouTube, and although there's no proof of that, there's certainly plenty of evidence to support such a claim. The Trusted Flaggers system is proven in its accuracy, but that means little if YouTube staff aren't acting on the reports.

In this case, this could mean that any number of potential abusers are using YouTube to contact children and nothing is being done. Either YouTube need to find a way to improve the response rate or figure out a better method of coping with the threat of child abuse, but in either case, something more needs to be done.

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