Trolls are lying about child porn to try to get YouTube channels taken down

Trolls are trying to take down the YouTube channel of PewDiePie’s rival by misusing the site’s new rules against predatory comments on videos of children. YouTube spent the bulk of last week trying to clean up comments sections by banning users and channels associated with predatory comments, but the people trolling aren’t going to get anywhere, because they’ve misunderstood how the new rules work.

In particular, trolls are leaving comments on videos from T-Series, a popular Bollywood channel that’s close to overtaking PewDiePie as the largest channel on YouTube. Their comments include timestamps suggesting there’s “CP,” or child pornography, at certain moments. A number of advertisers paused spending on YouTube last week after it came out that predators were commenting on innocuous videos starring children, and YouTube began cracking down in response, deleting tens of millions of comments and removing more than 400 accounts.

That’s led some people to believe that leaving similar comments around YouTube can get a channel banned. Trolls are leaving comments on videos that don’t even star children to ask YouTube to investigate the channel, or request the video be taken down because it contains “child pornography” content. Other commenters pretended to be predators themselves, using time stamping — a tool that bad actors use to signal parts of a video that in turn sexualizes a child — in an attempt to get a video removed. Comments on other videos, including Daniel “Keemstar” Keem’s DramaAlert, include talk about weaponizing comment sections.

That’s not how YouTube is policing comment sections, though. YouTube is preemptively disabling comments on videos it believes that may attract bad actors. For example, family vlogs that feature kids at a track meet or gymnastics competition may have their comment sections shut down in an attempt to thwart bad actors and predators from convening and sexualizing the content in question. The company is also restricting monetization on videos that may draw out predators based on the video’s specific content.

A comment on a recent T-Series video.T-Series/YouTube A comment on a recent T-Series video.T-Series/YouTube A comment on a recent T-Series video.T-Series/YouTube

Still, there’s been a good deal of misunderstanding around how YouTube is going about its fight against predatory comments — in large part because of YouTube’s own confusing communications. Last week, the company sent out a tweet suggesting that creators were responsible for the comments that appeared on their videos.

YouTubers interpreted that to mean if their comment sections became overrun by bad actors or predators — or those acting as such — they would lose monetization privileges on their channel. One YouTube commentator, ImAlexx, posted a video called “YouTube is Over” where he predicted trolls would leave inappropriate comments in order to get channels demonetized. “That’s going to happen quite a lot,” he said.

It’s a confusing situation for creators, who are worried about a new adpocalypse, where advertisers pull out and it’s harder for everyone to make money. YouTube later told The Verge it isn’t basing ad restriction on creators’ comment sections. Creators don’t have to moderate their comments, YouTube said, nor will their videos necessarily be demonetized. Instead, the team is evaluating videos which may attract predatory comments, and restricting advertising as a short-term fix.

If creators do want to moderate their comments, YouTube already provides a number of tools for them to do that. Creators can restrict specific words from being left in video comments. ImAlexx said he will often use personalized blacklists to keep comments related specifically to the video’s content, and not let the section devolve into chaos.

YouTube is still taking preemptive action on videos by closing down comments sections, but the team is also listening to creators. For now, advertisers remain wary about placing on the service, while YouTube figures out how to promise a level of brand safety that companies like Epic Games and AT&T are asking for.

source : http://www.theverge.com

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