back to article YouTube's pedo problem is so bad, it just switched off comments on millions of vids of small kids to stem the tide of vileness

YouTube has disabled comments on millions of videos because they were being used by pedophiles to communicate with one another and, allegedly, even link to child abuse videos. The extraordinary measure is one more sign that the web giant's systems – which are designed to drive views and hence advertising money beyond all else …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

    Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, it's all the same. Funneling you down the nearest rabbit hole to ensure another Pizzagate, or Anti-vaxxer movement, or annoraxia, or toxic home cleaning produce eating contest.

    Shutting off Youtube comments entirely would be a net gain for human kind and also raise the average IQ of the internet by at least 15 points. Few will morn them.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      I had to explain to some very technophobic (e.g. don't really use email) slightly older people at a dinner party about YouTube. This was about 5 years ago and they wanted to know if I could show them a video that had been posted online by a friend of theirs. When searching for it we saw suggestions for a video that they were curious about, that had just been posted. It was basically an accidental wardrobe malfunction on the beach with a middle aged woman. They thought that the content was inappropriate and I said depends on the age of the person watching. They asked why the YouTube employees hadn't required covering up of her breasts and face before it was available to watch. It was interesting to gague their reaction to the idea that you could post anything and then viewers could flag anything they felt was inappropriate. I said we'd check back at the end of the evening as to whether it was still there/accessible to anyone. Whilst the uploader still had had their account that particular video wasn't there. I pointed out that there were far more dangerous videos on YouTube. Like for example anti vaccination, home made 'remedies' or 'treatments' etc. I said I thought those videos were far more dangerous than some woman having here bikini top fall off. I hadn't even considered content like this.

      The video that they were looking for was of one of their friends showing off the IKEA wardrobe that they'd just assembled themselves that they were very proud of.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

        "[...] showing off the IKEA wardrobe that they'd just assembled themselves [...]"

        Useful when people post videos showing a step by step guide to how they assembled or repaired something. On numerous occasions the pointers to the necessary controlled force to get into a specific model of laptop case has been invaluable.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

          On numerous occasions the pointers to the necessary controlled force to get into a specific model of laptop case has been invaluable.

          Agreed, I generally dislike instructional videos, too many are mumbled or rambling, but when you even located the official technical repair guide and reads like committee by laws...

          Still, Gumby laptop repair is more entertaining.

        2. BillG Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

          I don't know what these algorithms are doing now, but I used to get solid recommendations for videos that actually were related to what I was watching. But starting last week I began seeing extremely disturbing recommendations for videos about suicide and horrible murders, like top 10 celebrity suicides, athletes that were permanently crippled while playing the game, top grisly murders with photos, and etc. I label them as "Not Interested" and more pop up.

          Something's going on at YouTube. I don't know if their math is broken or they are doing it on purpose, but its certainly sickening.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

            You are not alone. I've been seeing that as well.

            It used to be that marking something as "not interested" (except sports that they try to make even more money from) would mean whole genres could disappear PDQ.

            Sometimes it'd take a while. If you think "What the hell is this rubbish" and cancel the video within a few seconds, they note you're not interested, but if you get 20 seconds into a 12 hour rant from someone you would actively avoid (to the point of armed opposition), they note that it took you 20 seconds to quit so you must have liked something about it. After a few more "not interested" to videos or whole channel recommendations, it'd get the idea. After all, you're more likely to watch stuff you're interested in and they'll only get money if you watch stuff.

            I have noted a significant increase in the "celebrities who committed suicide", "top ten deaths caught on camera" and such videos. A sharp increase in the last week, no matter how much I flag them as "not interested". Even if one type of macabre garbage disappears, it will only be replaced by something along the same lines. I watch stuff on Christ, or mechanics (favouring certain motorbikes), improved bike riding/safety techniques, and various engineering topics I am interested in (including the odd spectacular transformer getting a little more lively than normal). Celebrity is something I avoid, so why all the murder and suicide stuff? Why the "top 10 most gruesome truck crashes" or "top 50 pedestrians decapitated during car accidents caught on video"?

            Recommend what I want to watch and I'll watch it. Shove stuff at me that has me turning away in disgust or boredom, and I'll find something else to do.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

        So Wardrobe porn. Disgusting.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

          "So Wardrobe porn. Disgusting."

          More disgusting than the time I was helping my Nan find a recipe for a nice cream pie!

          ...We were using Pornhub for it though

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      The talk of these confirmation algorithms is interesting, FTA: "Previously the Silicon Valley biz has been criticized for sending users down a conspiracy theory wormhole where watching one video about, say, the Earth being flat, leads to another and another"

      Surely this is no different to the "You've just bought a toaster, hey look at these adverts for toasters!" advertising algorithms that are oft criticised in these esteemed forums. We're told these adverts are much more useful* to us as a result of the creepy tracking but in reality, no. This really is all they've got - there is no AI, the Machine Learning touted as "AI" is still really fucking dense and can't do anything other than feed an echo chamber.

      So for all that data they slurp and activity they track (emails, messages, chats, searches, friends networks, page views around the web) all they've got is something that can do simple reactive regex matching. I can't see the promised automated moderation being any better so the usual perpetrators will be able to circumvent it with the usual tricks like spaces and substituting letters for numbers as they do on the Daily Heil message boards.

      * = for no values of "useful"

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

        The thing is AI, at this point in time, is pretty bad. Sure, it can make a picture that can fool someone at a casual glance ans while most won't stand up to close inspection, the picture type is far easier to train than the toaster advert or recommended video algorithm. The reason is simple, picture fakers can be trained with high quality pictures but "recommended for you" adverts are limited to either small data sets, your personal history, or irrelevant large data sets, the history of everyone who's bought a toaster or watched this video.

        The topic of the rant has the same problem. The data set used to recommend these videos comes from both with the small set being the kids family and a large set being kiddie spotters and their time stamps. In the end it's simply a matter of garbage in, garbage out.

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: You've just bought a toaster [etc]

        Oh yeah, I have one toaster now I need either six more or buyer's remorse that I didn't get the better Toastmaster Turbo X.

        Worse still are those bewildering "suggestions" from Amazon about what others (who looked at something I am looking at right now) looked at next.

        Considering increasing my exercise regimen I browse Amazon for bicycles. Why in Azathoth's secret name are other people browsing Amazon for bicycles, athletic supports and shotgun ammo belts? Are we about to see a rash of sportswear fetish cycle-by shootings? Is there some bizarre new outdoor semi-nude skeet-shooting bi-athlon craze sweeping the country?

        "So, we note you are interested in buying a new backpack. Did you know that many others feel the absolute best accessory to a new backpack is an airsoft Thompson submachine gun replica illegal to ship in your state?"

        1. Huw D

          Re: You've just bought a toaster [etc]

          Still like Zoe Lyons take on reviews (paraphrased) "Women who bought '1000 pictures of cats' also bought "Why men leave'"

    3. idoxde

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      Recommendations are in one line with ads and they both ruin the Internet for me. Just all about money, regulations and ocean of crap inbetween, another great idea bites the dust.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

        It's not unheard of for recommendations to take me to places I never would've discovered, and the joys within. They aren't completely broken and worthless. Sometimes they even take me to a better "how to totally screw up your bike/computer/relationship/life forever" video than the one I was watching. And sometimes to ones that actually do a better job of showing me what I want to see.

        I've got a blooming great big garden now after looking up one tiny little video on dealing with a certain neighbour's weed (quicklime and carpet rolls are best it seems - as el BOFH taught me... ;) ), all because one of the recommendations offered tasty treats that I could get in the privacy of my own home, and dressed things up in such a way as to entice me to see the delicious delights contained within.

        That said, my dataset is rather limited as I much prefer a paper manual, or even a PDF, to a video. Last thing I want when working with oily hands is to be touching my laptop or any other hardware. But while 'recommendations' can make watching some stuff more of a chore than it should be, I wouldn't go as far as saying "ruin". The adverts that come up midPlease by buying our crap after we waste 30 seconds of your time by interrupting what you were doing and showing you a product that not only will you never buy, but you now associate our brand with annoyance and will never enter our stores againway through a word during a technical comment are a bit more of a pain, and can ruin otherwise good videos AND customer relations.

    4. Ishtiaq

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      I can understand why you are a anonymous coward. How can you be so braindead as say an algo is cancer? I say that as someone who is watching the chemo drugs dripping into my veins. I hope you never have to deal with this situation. I wish I had only an algo to deal with….

      Cheers…. Ishtiaq

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      Yet at the same time, these algorithms can be incredibly useful.

      If you are trying to find information on a particular topic, or product, or construction technique, or scientific principle, they can be invaluable for sorting through hundreds of millions of videos uploaded without library classification codes, standard subject headings, or systematic titles.

      This seems a lot about whining that fire can burn your fingers, while forgetting about winter heating, wilderness survival, or cooking food.

      The fact that a tool like an axe, knife, computer, or electricity can do bad things does not mean that it does not have other useful roles... even if you personally do not care about those in the 'moment of indignation'.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

      and these algorithms are being 'gamed' apparently. this is not a surprise. inevitable is more like it.

      it's like a new form of steganography... to game the algorithms into revealing the information you wanted to be revealed, but only to those who know the 'code'.

      I don't know whether to high-5 these people, or throw rocks at them... because it _IS_ a very clever hack!

      1. M.V. Lipvig
        Facepalm

        Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

        Doesn't seem to work. I'm a hobbyist gearhead. When I'm looking for specific car parts, internet searches invariably return -

        1. The exact part I need, for every car that ever existed except the one I have, or:

        2. Completely unrelated parts that fit my car, or:

        3. Porn links with cars in them.

        The maddening ones are when I need a part, and it brings up an OEM supplier site, and that site will show a diagram of the subsystem I am working on that shows a picture of the part I need along with all the related parts, BUT lists no information about the actual part I need. But if you try searching for adjacent parts hoping to game it, it remembers my original search and STILL won't show what I need!

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Has anyone else noticed that these reccomendation algos are basically cancer?

          I'm a hobbyist gearhead. When I'm looking for specific car parts, internet searches invariably return -

          You missed...

          4) Completely unrelated parts for completely unrelated vehicles, but somehow the description text contains keywords that tell you it is EXACTLY what you're looking for.

          Or 5) Absolutely NOTHING for your vehicle, not even an acknowledgement it exists.

          And 6) You go to one of the manufacturer's stores, and the first place they go to is google....

          I don't think there's enough alcohol in the world for this stuff.

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

    Its basically a series of travelogue videos made by this man and his wife on two separate channels. Occasionally, they show their very young daughters in the videos, very rarely, and always in a responsible "family" sort of way.

    So they got their comments deleted from all their videos on both channels, going back over the years they have been posting content. All this because they posted images of their daughters in maybe 1% of the time their collected videos run.

    Yes, YouTube comments can be a dung heap of trash, but in this case the comments are generally pretty responsible and sane. And comments allow the audience to communicate with the creators with ideas for more videos or concerns about something that was posted/said, and of course to praise the videos and creators.

    I can understand not wanting to facilitate pedophiles, but what YouTube is doing is a very blunt instrument.

    1. Joe W

      Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

      Let me guess: they don't have a gazillion followers and so do not generate much income for YouTube...

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

        @joe W

        They actually have lots and lots of subscribers, but when corporate makes the decision to take the pedophile risk off the table...

        1. Paul Greavy

          Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

          I think I know exactly the channel you are talking about. I must admit it is a bizarre decision.

          I know another channel (often showing up in the same recommendations as that channel) where the guy uses his two children in many of the vids. Yet comments have not been disabled on his channel. Yet.

          But neither channel features their children 'inappropriately' - they just do travelogs. And both have fairly healthy subscription and viewing figures, considering they are not doing mainstream pap.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

      YouTube (and other platforms) should allow you to moderate replies to your videos/posts/whatever to be moderated by you. The idea being the person most interested in keeping their garden clean is you so you should have the tools to do it.

      Obviously that doesn't stop people creating sketchy videos which YouTube's fantastic algorithms completely fail to catch, but I think this is a battle which needs to be fought on several fronts, and this would stop anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, people with political opinions funded by unknown sources, and undesirables of the sort mentioned in this articles rocking up and ruining otherwise perfectly fine stuff.

      But, for technology companies, YouTube and others seem to be extraordinarily resident to change, convinced that the model works but they just need to tweak the PHP script behind it.

      To be honest I don't think the human race is ready for social media. It might work when geeks blabber on about operating systems but it doesn't scale up to real life, it ends up amplifying and polarising every problem society has.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

        "YouTube (and other platforms) should allow you to moderate replies to your videos/posts/whatever to be moderated by you. "

        So you want to give anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers and the 'earth is 600o years old' crowd, and the 'moon landings never happened', and 'we are ruled by secret alien overlords' nuts a means to create the illusion that everyone thinks their loony claims are accepted by scientists, historians, and doctors?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

          They can already do that by creating their own website. All Google is doing at the moment is paying to host that for them in exchange for the advertising revenue.

          Google and the social media giants are basically extracting a shed-load of cash from dumb advertising execs by using sometimes legally suspect bait, and then avoiding legal responsibility by pointing at whoever uploaded it (typically a small person very far away) rather than whoever collects the money (typically a very big corporation nearer to home). One aspect of this is that they only take action when their advertisers get worried (like today).

          Until courts take the view that Google and Facebook are publishers, they are basically above the law.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

          So basically no change for the loony videos, YouTube would still need to mod these videos anyway. However the non-loony videos wouldn't be polluted by loony comments.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

        "...and this would stop anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, people with political opinions funded by unknown sources, and undesirables of the sort mentioned in this articles rocking up and ruining otherwise perfectly fine stuff."

        That would be one of the worst things that could happen to this world.

        Sure, some anti-vaxxers have issues - others point out that vaccines have caused problems in the past - not all and not often, but it has happened, and of course there's the correlation (not necessarily causation) with certain conditions such as ADHD appearing to have higher prevalence today (of course, 50 years ago we weren't so ready to label kids as having such things).

        Flat-earthers are a weird bunch in general, some with some very oddly strong views. OTOH, it's a joy to watch the videos of the ones who do break free from whatever it is that ties them down, eg one who really did take up the challenge to check a few things himself and quickly saw that the earth must be such a large ball that it appears flat to the naked eye but over a few miles you can measure the curvature.

        But the biggest issue I have with your post is the bits about "undesirables" and "political opinions funded by unknown sources".

        Not too long back people like me were considered 'undesirable', worthy of life-long imprisonment, or torture under the guise of 'treatment', or even execution. Some still hold this view today. My crime of course is 'preferring sausage to tacos'. With your idea, people who have a differing view of what is 'right' would never have the hope of being released from the hell that has to be endured when one is of a persuasion that is not currently fashionable. Not only would we not be allowed to speak, but those who could speak up for us would be silenced as their political views would suddenly be suspect and as they 'must be funded by unknown sources' (no matter how much the person in question says they did it themselves without funding), they must therefore be removed.

        There is absolutely NO reason to remove or attempt to silence someone's 'political opinions' regardless of whether they're funded buy some disliked large corporation, a body of criminals, or done by themselves with the cheapest low-quality camera they could afford. It doesn't matter if they're advocating for the rights of men to screw whatever children they fancy, or for the rights of the rest of us to execute any many who we even remotely suspect may once have looked at a child with suspect motives, freedom of speech is something that must be protected. And no, if a private organisation dislikes someone and doesn't want to give them a place to speak then that is the right of the owner of the venue to turn away whoever they wish, gay, straight, paedo, flat-earth nutjob or whatever.

        The right to speak your mind, to support who you wish, and the right to hate whomever doesn't meet your fancy - we should all have this right to like or hate, associate with or distance ourselves from whomever we choose for whatever reason we wish. Just don't deliberately harm someone in the process.

        Now that's over, I'm off for a hot cuppa and a lie down.

        </rant>

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

      Virtually all the channels I follow (quite) often feature young children because they are family channels of people with kids, watched by similar people. I guess this means said creators simply have to decide whether to feature their kids and have no community interaction, or provide some sanitised version of family life where their children are talked about but never seen!

      Knowing the way YT works this will be heavy-handed with little grounds for appeal or common sense.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

      A 'blunt instrument' - probably automated moderating, which is likely to be abused (for political purposes) and end up more like this:

      https://www.projectveritas.com/2019/02/27/facebook-insider-leaks-docs/

      I really don't want Google + Youtube + Alphabet going down that same path as Fa[e]cebook with shadow-banning (etc.), or even 'punishment' or 'retaliation', whether or not they've actually done so already.

      but, since WHEN did Google/Alphabet/Youtube EVER care about 'false hits' on such things...

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

        That's tricky. I hate facebook as much as the next man (more, probably). But if they're suppressing right-wing nutjobs like the ones on that project veritas page, it can only be a good thing.

        I might support the right of another person to express their point of view. I don't support a notional right to stuff their hateful bile in every orifice they can find.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: One of the YouTube channels I watched got its comments deleted in this manner

          I might support the right of another person to express their point of view. I don't support a notional right to stuff their hateful bile in every orifice they can find.

          It's a tough thing. I would absolutely hate for a some right wing nutter to have a place to speak their mind.

          But...

          if I want the right to speak my mind, I need to support their right to speak theirs. But as part of speaking my mind, if I own the venue then their right stops at my boundary. Though I may welcome them round to my home for a coffee and a quiet chat - sometimes people can be swayed by reason :)

  3. Criminny Rickets
    Facepalm

    Oy Vey

    So they are saying... rather than surgically remove this skin blemish the tip of your nose, we are just going to fire this bazooka at it. That should clear it up.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Oy Vey

      Good thinking. I endorse nuking twitter from orbit too. Its the only way to be sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oy Vey

        While I applaud the sentiment, the clichéd old quote I do not

  4. David 132 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Is this real, or just the latest panic?

    Is there any actual evidence that paedos are using YT comments as a clandestine communications channel, or is this just the latest

    “Gang members drive around at night with no headlights...if you flash them to let them know, they will kill you as their initiation rite”,

    “Playing heavy metal records backwards summons the devil”,

    “There’s a creepy suicide meme embedded in online Peppa Pig videos”

    ...hysteria-of-the-day?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      It's already looking like an excuse to silence discussion critical of favoured political entities.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

        discussion critical of favoured political entities

        Whenever I look at YouTube it mostly seems to consist of Americans making furniture in impossibly spacious and well-equipped woodworking shops. And people opening boxes. I don't think it's ever going to be the place to plan world domination - unless you want to learn how to build your hollowed-out volcano from MDF and surplus cardboard packaging.

        1. Giovani Tapini

          Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

          To an extent yes. Problem is that almost every online platform can be, or is actively being abused in the same way. From chat in games, YT, and many other popular messaging services can be used. Even reviews on Amazon have been hijacked.

          Publishing content creators is not a sensible response either. The internet gives genuine predators and conpiricy idiots a platform. Bots looking for them should refer to human for validation though as people are both creative at manipulation of AI and also abusive reports to take down rival content.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

            The internet gives genuine predators and conpiricy idiots a platform.

            Watching old episodes of a few great Brit commedies, among them "Steptoe and Son" from a time that pre-dates colour television.

            In one episode they refer to the FES, in another they talk of 'conspiracy nutters'. So these people have always had a platform.

            The net just increases the chances of us accidentally bumping into them.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      The problem with publishing evidence is that it is illegal to do so, so while I understand your desire for evidence, I can't help you.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      YT categorically state this IS happening. And they have the data and analytics... of course they could just be lying but I don't really see the gain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

        Possibly because the 'sky is falling' types would just start screaming about an evil capitalist conspiracy to continue raking in the bucks for letting abuse continue.

        Denial has no upside, whether or not it is accurate.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

        "of course they could just be lying but I don't really see the gain."

        The gain is that they placate their advertisers who were threatening to withdraw cash. I'm sure that they don't actually care one way or another whether it is true; their problem is simply that the advertisers *think* it is true, so a response is required.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      Well I've seen comments with timestamps and others making inappropriate suggestions on gymnastics videos. Thankfully most of these get stomped on by either the content poster, or other commenters.

      But it does happen.

      I'm sort of surprised that removing comments on videos of children is news.

      I first saw this happen over a year ago, for exactly this reason.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      “Playing heavy metal records backwards summons the devil”,

      PROMISE???

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

        “Playing heavy metal records backwards summons the devil”

        These days one can just load any EA product.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

          "“Playing heavy metal records backwards summons the devil”

          These days one can just load any EA product."

          Not even the devil would suggest improving your experience in hell via micro-transactions...

          Although if there is some sort of upgrade package (maybe a two-souls for one deal?) allowing me to see some of the departed heavy metal bands I would be very interested...

    6. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      You seem well qualified to be a builder or in some other way work in construction.

      You're certainly well adept at hitting the nail on the head.

      I've seen some creepy comments of the like mentioned here (along the lines of 'what a gorgeous looking little child, would love to see video of you skinny-dipping' ) but nothing to the extremes suggested. There also appears to be a mechanism by which to report any dodgy comments or videos, which I assume could lead to such comments being removed.

      To me this smacks more of someone finding a way to generate interest in his video, and therefore much add revenue, than a legitimate concern about such matters. Maybe YT deleted one of his videos or in some other way upset the poor widdle twinkle and he's decided to try and do something nasty back to them.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

      UK law is an ass when it comes to paedo content; you are guilty regardless of actively downloading it, or getting a paedo-file* renamed as a different video - say an old episode of neighbours.

      Even stumbling across a website displaying generated icons of it is enough to get you arrested; there is NO SAFE WAY of reporting it without risking arrest yourself.

      YT is very late doing anything (as usual), sick shit aimed at children has been going on for years, and their own YT for Kids app was awash with the stuff last time I foolishly used it for my child. Paedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, all with child friendly titles and renditions of their favourite Disney characters.

      Anon, because I DID stumble across a child porn site.

      * A little light humour for you.

  5. adnim Silver badge
    Mushroom

    – are fundamentally broken.

    Not broken, just abused.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: – are fundamentally broken.

      Abused certainly, but it's naive for any ad funded free-to-use publish what you like website operator to assume abuse won't happen.

      The only solution is one where users have to give legally solid ID to get an account. Then it's far easier for the full weight of law to be brought down on those posting such vileness. There would be real and painful consequences, something completely lacking today on YouTube, Facebook, etc. It's becoming increasingly clear that AI filtering just isn't working, and shows no signs of ever becoming adequate.

      If that ID leverages something like the financial system, ie you have to pay to use it, so much the better. There'd be no reason to carry on with analytics, tracking, data slurping, because there'd be an actual revenue stream.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: – are fundamentally broken.

        "The only solution is one where users have to give legally solid ID to get an account."

        Bad bad bad idea.

        That's a perfect way to intimidate and silence anyone with non-majority views.

        That would tend to turn most of the internet into a guaranteed echo chamber supporting the tyranny of the majority - a danger which necessitated the invention of ideas like a Bill of Rights, and civil liberties.

        The majority can take care of themselves. It's the minorities that need protection.

        Pushing the internet toward mandatory group-think is in the best interests of almost nobody.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: – are fundamentally broken.

          "That's a perfect way to intimidate and silence anyone with non-majority views."

          Hmm, that must be why minority views didn't exist until 20 years ago when the Internet arrived, because prior to that moment the only way to reach a large audience was to pay for some form of mass distribution of your message.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: – are fundamentally broken.

          That's a perfect way to intimidate and silence anyone with non-majority views.

          Thank you for posting that.

  6. DougS Silver badge

    Disabling comments, not ads

    Shows what Google cares about here. They still want to monetize these videos, and pedos will still trade information on them - they'll just do it elsewhere, where Google can claim "out of sight, out of mind".

    1. Archie Campbell

      Re: Disabling commentards, not advertisers

      Your comment shows via poor grammar and syntax several angles on the problem.

      By placing into the semantic placeholder of the participle they, you conflate on the proper noun Google, that properly covers a vast array of interests, only some of the related contributors to the discussion: monetization, pedos and the commons.

      * Monetization is essentially the available making of a new through-route for unique selling points. For example, Dragos the DJ is watched by 'millions' who having fallen under the spell of the crazy Romanian, believe that he satisfies their lust for LoFi and who slavishly follow his every move and comment appropriately concerning their adoration for him. Dragos is able to turn a trick by paywall activities pointed towards his legion of fans.

      * Pedos do not give a shit about how or where they congregate, and the nature of the contumely under the radar of which they pass their disgusting excuses for anthropological performance is only made the more attractive by the other two influences that you mention so poorly in your confusing and misguided comment.

      On the contrary, "out of sight, out of mind" is largely regarded in IT as a gross form of negligence with respect to the duty of care, particularly if one is attempting monetization with a platform on which commoners place interesting information in the way of the sorts of unmonitored freeloading scumbags who confuse a seven year old in a leotard with an early morning rape fantastical masturbation session involving memories of the older woman in every admonitory nuance of the set of sitcoms involving warnings there not to be treading, or possibly his mother's behaviour over yesterday's breakfast in the kitchen downstairs.

      Confusion considered contradictory, causing confabulation crimes *is* considered harmful.

      Quod commentabant sicut commentardes sunt? My latin is not up to this, but I've just seen a woodchuck, and you all know what'll be happening thereafter. There is a loophole in my argument, but I gave up emacs years before.

    2. DougS Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Disabling comments, not ads

      Is this the amanfromMars1 AI 2.0, grammar edition?

  7. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "YouTube is putting these children at risk by not removing these videos."

    Wait. Do they mean that YouTube should take down all videos of children eating ice cream, because somebody somewhere will manage to get excited by these dangerously titillating exhibitions?

    That can't be the solution. This is on par with asking women to cover up, lest they induce men to temptation.

    1. seven of five

      goats

      "This is on par with asking women to cover up, lest they induce men to temptation."

      Goats. It s was goats on the local cattle market which had to cover their behinds in order not to arouse men.

      ymmw.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Wait. Do they mean that YouTube should take down all videos of children eating ice cream, because somebody somewhere will manage to get excited by these dangerously titillating exhibitions?

      That can't be the solution. This is on par with asking women to cover up, lest they induce men to temptation."

      Not really. It's more like removing all videos that show women.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "t's more like removing all videos that show women."

        You could remove all the cats while you are at it. The resulting drop in electricity consumption would probably throw global warming into reverse.

  8. Trixr Bronze badge

    That rant's about 2 years behind the times, but I suppose at least this has got YouTube to actually do something about it.

    The original article that publicly described the issue is here: https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/21-11-2016/hello-my-name-is-ally-how-children-are-being-exploited-by-youtube-predators/. Several accounts were banned at the time, but obviously YT did a crap job of coming up with controls to prevent more.

    And, call me old-fashioned, I don't know why any parent is publicly sharing videos of their semi-dressed children on YouTube, or allowing their kids to upload videos of any description. (Yeah, their friends might do it, but don't give kids smartphones with a camera, and use content filter apps on mobile devices and filtering on the router at home.)

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    theregister.co.uk

    Please can we have the UK spelling paedo (not the simplified pedo)

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Thumb Up

      Re: theregister.co.uk

      I'd appreciate that, if only because in Spanish "pedo" = "fart", so even though the topic is very serious, the article loses all gravitas thanks to my immature mind.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: theregister.co.uk

        Why not use the entirely correct term "ephobophile" instead of the incorrect pedo- or paedo- forms?

        1. Daniel 18

          Re: theregister.co.uk

          "Why not use the entirely correct term "ephobophile" instead of the incorrect pedo- or paedo- forms?"

          Because 98% of the people reading the article would not know what it meant.

          I didn't, and the last time my language skills were checked they came in at 99.5 (percentile, at the limit of resolution of the test).

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: theregister.co.uk

            "Because 98% of the people reading the article would not know what it meant."

            But you are posting on the web, so you could mark it up like this: ephobophile and educate everyone.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: theregister.co.uk

          > Why not... etc

          Because it’s “ephebophile” not “ephobophile”.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: theregister.co.uk

        With hundreds of languages in use around the world, trying to eliminate all terms that have off topic meanings in other languages would be a futile act of madness.

        Use the context, Luke.

  10. msknight Silver badge
    FAIL

    YouTube have no control

    They can't even ban ONE MAN from their platform.

    That's right. Ace conspiracy theorist nut job Alex Jones is STILL broadcasting on the system despite being banned from the platform. There's even an account "Alex Jones" which is broadcasting the man himself, and YouTube are totally asleep at the wheel.

    He's been all over the platform since the ban, and it's not boding well for their ability to control anything.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: YouTube have no control

      Yes, but don't you know Youtube has been turning the fricking frogs gay?

      1. msknight Silver badge

        Re: YouTube have no control

        What I want to know, is what tests Jones has been running in order to prove that particular theory. It would make one hell of a video, that's for sure!

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: YouTube have no control

          Funny enough, he wasn't actually far off the mark. He is a nutcase conspiracy theorist though, and he was mocked for the way he presented the information.

          Source:

          https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2017/03/they-re-turning-frogs-gay-psychology-behind-internet-conspiracy

  11. JDX Gold badge

    Is this accurately reported El Reg?

    Your article focuses on YT having removed millions of comments. Whereas BBC's article focuses on the fact they are going to auto-detect videos containing small children, and block comments on them - in coming months. These are quite different angles and I've no idea which is more important or accurate.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Is this accurately reported El Reg?

      Um, the fact that YT is blocking comments now doesn't give you a clue ?

      The BBC might be right about the future, but comment blocking is happening now.

      I myself never look at comments elsewhere than on El Reg - this is the only place it is worth it. But I do find curious that YT hasn't made comments an option in the hands of the channel owner. With parental guidance options.

      I would say that children have no business posting on YT, but education is outrated these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this accurately reported El Reg?

        " But I do find curious that YT hasn't made comments an option in the hands of the channel owner. "

        IIRC when you create content on YT - then you have an option to disable comments for that video. You can also limit its exposure. The category of "unlisted" means it is only accessible by knowing the specific link for that video. Any other videos in that category remain invisible. That is good enough for emailing to family and friends who you want to keep up-to-date on your activities.

    2. msknight Silver badge

      Re: Is this accurately reported El Reg?

      I can tell you that a number of the channels that I follow, have had all comments stripped from all their videos, and the ability to post new comments also stripped.

      Laowhy86's channel is one such. More than 322,000 subscribers, he has a YouTube creator contact so has direct communication with YouTube, as a creator.... and even he can't get this reversed on his channel. I've gone through a handful of his past videos and every one that I've checked so far, has had the comments removed.

      All we can do now, is grab the popcorn, sit back and see how this turns out.

      1. DreamEater

        Re: Is this accurately reported El Reg?

        Have they done the same to Winstons channel too?

        1. msknight Silver badge

          Re: Is this accurately reported El Reg?

          No, nor ADV China last time I checked. But C-Milk's been showing his daughters so that's probably why it happened to him.

  12. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    It is worrying that one person would have such power but he drove down the value of kids channels and youtube reacts by knocking off comments on millions of kid videos, that seems the right reaction. Why it is youtubes job to dictate what is or is not appropriate content and to what extent do we wish serious authoritarian control over what we should be allowed to see?

    Further to this, if the channels are used for illegal behaviour then the police can get involved and it is easier when these people put themselves up in plain sight. If its not illegal then there is no good grounds for youtube to have to do anything about it. It falls to people to not look at what they dont want to, to parent their kids and take personal responsibility as they need to in life (the real world is not always so sanitised).

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Ha

      "Why it is youtubes job to dictate what is or is not appropriate content "

      Because they are paying to host the videos and they are making money from the ads?

      If you want to be in control, pay for your own website. If everyone did that then YouTube wouldn't exist and Google would have to ensure that their search engine could find all the worthwhile videos.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        "Because they are paying to host the videos and they are making money from the ads?"

        That does not mean they should become the gate keepers of morality or whatever. They provide a place for people to put videos up, it is up to the people who upload the video for the quality of the content.

        "If everyone did that then YouTube wouldn't exist and Google would have to ensure that their search engine could find all the worthwhile videos."

        Actually no they wouldnt. That is a huge mistake to make. Nobody has to provide a youtube like service, but one exists and is highly used because people value it. It is funded by ads which come from business so everyone rich or poor can watch technical videos, entertaining videos, product reviews and more (including cat videos if thats what people like) without paying.

        Nobody has to do that. We are not entitled to such a service. Our lives are enriched by its existence and we should recognise why we have it and stop trying to undo the progress with entitled and selfish views (not accusing you). In our efforts to create a utopia some people seem to be forgetting that we are where we are with hard work and the lives of people world wide are improving through that struggle. Why would we want to go back to struggling?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are many video channels of boys choirs - which often consist mostly of boys under the age of 13. A not uncommon comment is by people accusing the adults organising a choir of hypothetical misdeeds. Not sure if that is just trolling their fans - or people with a conspiracy outlook fuelled partly by past scandals elsewhere.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      RE: AC

      Well, it's hardly a far-fetched conspiracy theory to be fair.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: AC

        "Well, it's hardly a far-fetched conspiracy theory to be fair."

        That seems like the zeitgeist reasoning of "any potential risk, no matter how small, is too much". In which case then no adult should be allowed to be in charge of children for any activity.

        Such accusations must be specific and with evidential justification.

        Otherwise it is like Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller blaming homosexuals for all sexual abuse in the Church. That looks like trying to redirect a failing of governance into a purge of an ideological scapegoat. That is a slippery path.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: RE: AC

          "That seems like the zeitgeist reasoning of "any potential risk, no matter how small, is too much". In which case then no adult should be allowed to be in charge of children for any activity."

          That's not at all what i said or implied. And to jump to such a conclusion one could only reasonably aassume you're a priest?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: AC

          "That seems like the zeitgeist reasoning of "any potential risk, no matter how small, is too much". In which case then no adult should be allowed to be in charge of children for any activity."

          Particularly not family members, as that is where the greatest risk lies.

          Second greatest risk is family friends.

          The obvious solution is to only allow random strangers to interact with kids, and swap strangers on a monthly basis.

  14. livin' thing
    Unhappy

    Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn...

    ...ruining the mental health of millions. What a great time to be alive.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn...

      “...reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays....”

      Brave New World, ain't it?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Despite the lack of evidence, the video's viral attention caused advertisers to pull their ads from the service.

    Lack of evidence?!?! For the child porn allegation maybe. But there's more than enough creepiness (time based links to an 8-year-old's camel toe for example?) is enough that I would be pulling my ads.

    If Google has the ability to identify videos that they are now going to ban comments on, then they have the ability to not recommend those videos to new accounts. And they have the ability to rate limit those recommendations to just a few per day.

  16. StewartWhite

    YouTube's defence of "we're not publishers because we only police uploads via automated algorithms and only have humans review content when it's flagged by other humans" is drivel.

    There are so many postings and comments (e.g. from the BBC on PM earlier this week) along the lines of "it's an incredibly complex situation and there's no easy answer" but IMO that's just not true. YouTube et al ARE publishers but they happen to source the material that they publish for free from anybody with a YouTube account, which YT then make loads of lovely money from via advertisting etc.

    If YT had to abide by the same rules as conventional media then they'd have to hire an awful lot of people to police content in advance or their business model would be broken and they'd have to close down. To which YT etc. respond "It would be too expensive and take too long to vet all submissions". Well tough - just because you're an Internet based company making billions doesn't mean that the law should apply to conventional media and private citizens but shouldn't apply to you. The world existed before YouTube and it will continue to exist even if YT disappears. There's nothing that's on their (or others) sites that we couldn't all do without (even El Reg).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The world existed before YouTube and it will continue to exist even if YT disappears"

      You can't put the genie back in the bottle. People have become accustomed to the useful information contained in fora like YT. There were forerunners like MySpace who lost their market share - as will YT eventually. The more monopolistic a company becomes - the more exposed it is to a disruptor eg IBM, Kodak.

      Gutenberg was a disruptor - who offended the Church by allowing the masses to see information banned for ideological reasons. Many publishing companies have gone bust since then - but mass produced books are still in demand. In transitioning to digital media - production has been opened to everyone on any scale.

      1. StewartWhite

        "You can't put the genie back in the bottle" is just defeatist. All I'm asking for is that they don't break the laws of the land in the same way that I'm not allowed to. Using their sophistric logic I could get somebody else to record spout hate speech which, as long as I didn't listen to it beforehand, I would be free to play in public until somebody objected to it and even then I wouldn't be guilty of any offence as long as I stopped playing it because i wasn't the "publisher".

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Gutenburg was legally liable for what he printed. Apparently the big internet sites aren't. That seems like a pretty significant difference.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Gutenburg was legally liable for what he printed."

          He opened the way to smuggled imports of books from other countries that challenged the political ideology of the Church and government.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good plan.

      Let's get rid of all family videos, and make more room for cats, and how-to videos on how to customize your handguns and strip and clean your rifles.... which are at least useful, particularly for obscure firearms with hard to find manuals.

      Family/kid videos are just a waste of space.

    3. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      There's nothing that's on their (or others) sites that we couldn't all do without (even El Reg).

      True.

      We also don't need electricity either, people survived for a long time without that. And we can all go back to hunting and gathering as well, after all people survived doing that for millennia.

      Tell you what, you go and live in that world, and I'll stay in this one where my life has sometimes been made much easier by the material YT et al provide.

      1. StewartWhite

        So you think YT is as important as electricity - really!? YT has made a v minor positive contribution to society whilst at the same time intoroducing major problems that it does not want to deal with because that would get in the way of it making $$$$$$$

        I'm not actually demanding that YT be shut down - simply that it obeys the law, why is that so unreasonable? if their business model doesn't work without breaking the law why is that society's problem? Given this "logic" presumably organised crime is ok as it's business model is fine, it's just those pesky laws that get in the way.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          So you think YT is as important as electricity - really!? YT has made a v minor positive contribution to society whilst at the same time intoroducing major problems that it does not want to deal with because that would get in the way of it making $$$$$$$

          Your argument was "The world existed before YouTube and it will continue to exist even if YT disappears." Replace YT with '(harnessed) electricity' or 'processed food' (ie you don't have to hunt, kill, skin, gut, clean etc the whole lot, you can just buy a few steaks/some mince/a leg of mutton) or.... The world existed before X, and will continue to exist even if X disappears.'

          These things aren't necessary to our lives [I have killed and butchered sheep as a part of growing up rural] but they make it a darn sight easier [I don't really have the time to do that, I'll buy only the parts of the sheep that I want to eat - plus the neighbours might get a bit uppity if I put an offal pit in the back yard]

          BTW, at no point did I say YT was "important", nor did I equates its importance with 'leccy. For that matter, I have never claimed that electricity is important either (though we do need it in our bodies to survive). It could be argued quite reasonably that while electricity has given us our modern convenient lifestyle, it has brought about many problems while not really contributing a whole lot :) YT is not important, but it has at times made parts of my life a lot easier. As I said elsewhere on this forum, I have a large and thriving garden thanks to YT recommendations. I'm also turning old junk into useful stuff, like the parts of the old washing machine that now provide the power to the water pumps that keep my plants from getting thirsty. I knew it could be done so I looked on YT. Someone did it, filmed it, I watched them do it, now I've done it.

          I'm not actually demanding that YT be shut down - simply that it obeys the law, why is that so unreasonable?

          I never accused you of "demanding" anything. I completely agree that all companies should abide by the laws of the countries they trade in or cease operating in those countries, even though sometimes YT's flouting of the law means others can watch material they wouldn't normally get to see.

          It's rather early on Sunday morning. Have a beer/replacement of your choice and relax. Enjoy the start of spring if you're in that part of the world, or the last days of summer if you're more over this way.

  17. Paper
    Big Brother

    Let the public moderate

    If a post gets a critical mass of down votes, just hide it. I realise that's tyranny by the majority but it's better than waiting a week for such comments to get deleted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let the public moderate

      "If a post gets a critical mass of down votes, just hide it. I realise that's tyranny by the majority but it's better than waiting a week for such comments to get deleted."

      I like it.

      We can get rid of all those stupid videos claiming that carbon dioxide is bad.

      Does nobody study biology any more? It's essential for plant life.

      And this whole climate change thing is just an attempt to rip off taxpayers and advanced economies.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Let the public moderate

        And this whole climate change thing is just an attempt to rip off taxpayers and advanced economies.

        Well, the climate is changing. I mean NZ seems to be having one of the coldest and wettest summers on record (even if they're cherry-picking a few "highest temperature in the last 20 years" to push the AGW views).

        The causes are another matter, and of course what should be done about it (if anything - personally I think a lot of what is being done is worse).

        As I've said here before though, I absolutely hate pollution and wasted resources. And as a person who grows their own food, I wholeheartedly agree that carbon and CO2 are important and should be increased, not decreased. Get rid of the other nasties that come out of the tailpipe of a car or the mouth of an MP, but leave the damned carbon alone!

        We are 'carbon-based life forms'. Seems kinda obviously stupid to try to remove the stuff wot makes us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let the public moderate

          "[...] carbon and CO2 are important and should be increased, not decreased."

          Quanta magazine has an article about how an increase in CO2 56 million years ago negatively affected life on Earth.

          ***WARNING The article page causes my Waterfox browser tab to keep crashing intermittently.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Let the public moderate

            "[...] carbon and CO2 are important and should be increased, not decreased."

            Quanta magazine has an article about how an increase in CO2 56 million years ago negatively affected life on Earth.

            ***WARNING The article page causes my Waterfox browser tab to keep crashing intermittently.

            Since I use WF on this machine, I won't visit but I will give you an upvote :) I may've read such articles, but there also are many which point out that amounts of CO2 significantly higher than what we have today both have been beneficial to life on earth and are even survivable by our current crop of species, at least generally.

    2. Carpet Deal 'em
      Meh

      Re: Let the public moderate

      The problem with that, as Reddit and friends have discovered, is that the downvote button is frequently used as an "I disagree" button, rather than for its intended purposes of marking spam/comments that don't contribute(less critically, but still on point, is how the upvote button is almost entirely used to indicate agreement). It's possibly better than nothing at all, but the behavioral problems it invites do need to be considered before implementing it(especially if you enable sorting by score).

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Let the public moderate

      “...reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays....”

      Ever heard this one?

  18. David 155

    what is the solution?

    What is the solution? Social media seems to be increasingly lawless, with none of them accepting responsibility for their content.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: what is the solution?

      if you go swimming in a sewer, expect to get sick from the diseases found there. And don't complain about the smell, either. You KNEW ahead of time it would stink. It's a SEWER.

      I guess the solution is to convince people to stop swimming in sewers... not try and make them SAFER sewers. Or pleasant smelling sewers.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broken algorithm

    Algorithms are ruining the internet in my opinion.

    I read that James Bridle article back when it first came out and now I have video feeds linked to me by YouTube of the bizarre "Finger Family, Frozen, Spiderman, Colours" videos.

    Netflix must also use the same annoying algorithms because it keeps showing me movies I've already watched and it is hard to break out of the loop to see other genres.

    I was discussing this very problem yesterday with my friend who also had problems viewing new content on Netflix.

    Much like the worthless "targeted ads" that show people things they've already purchased.

    If these algorithms have problems going down a rabbit hole showing the same things over and over I can imagine how there could be problems with facial recognition AI targeting the same groups of people over and over again as well.

    1. Simon B-52

      Shitty-Algorithms

      Whilst I share you feelings about "recommendations" and "targeted" ads, I must disagree with your use of the word algorithm as a generic name for these pestilences.

      An algorithm is a method, a recipe. All computer programs implement algorithms. Every single one, ever.

      There was even a book written by a prominent computer scientist called "Algorithms plus Data Structures Equals Programs"

      So I propose a new compound word name for these annoyances: Shitty-Algorithms.

  21. sisk Silver badge

    YouTube's systems are not fundamentally broken. They're working exactly as designed to maximize profit regardless of any questionable ethics that might need to be employed in order to do so.

  22. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    This was covered on Radio 4 a week ago

    Led to me shouting at the radio. Precis : Comments on Youtube by paedophiles advertise Telegram groups where sick pictures are then shared. They also accused Discord of not doing enough to weed out picture suppliers on their network (who may or may not have been real).

    The angle of course was : ban encryption. How Fucking Convenient.

    I'm certainly all for protecting children, and prosecuting anyone involved in abuse. However, this shouldn't mean the entire Internet is nerfed because 'think of the children', and it definitely shouldn't mean the end of encryption.

  23. RancidOrange

    Unpopular solution ...

    ... make all these social media outlets Publishers. Making the enabler of any given problem suffer the consequences of wrong doing somehow concentrates their minds and lo and behold previously impossible to fix issues are swiftly overcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unpopular solution ...

      "... make all these social media outlets Publishers. Making the enabler of any given problem suffer the consequences of wrong doing somehow concentrates their minds and lo and behold previously impossible to fix issues are swiftly overcome."

      So you want to give the social media companies an official mandate for universal censorship of anything they want to declare suspect?

      You might want to re-think that.

      And handing the power to governments is no better.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Unpopular solution ...

        "So you want to give the social media companies an official mandate for universal censorship of anything they want to declare suspect?"

        "the big social media websites" != "universal". For some of us, it's not even close.

        Also, government *already has* this power (by passing laws) and we seem to manage. The problem, in fact, is that social media companies appear to have found a way around that and are busy monetising something that society as a whole has decided is unacceptable.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Unpopular solution ...

          "the big social media websites" != "universal". For some of us, it's not even close.

          Perhaps. They do claim that somewhere > 1 in 8 people use farcebork. If it's even 1 in 20 that's still pretty close to being "universal" and certainly changes to it have a big impact.

          "Also, government *already has* this power (by passing laws)"

          They have the power to pass the laws, and certainly NZ's politicos have both been known to pass bad laws "under urgency", the right much more so than the left but still both pretty nasty at it. But for many of us such laws don't yet exist, and we should fear the day that they do.

          Someone earlier posted about playing a recording of "hate speech" in a public place and if they hadn't listened to that recording then they must be OK. How it should be is that if I want to stand on a corner and spout off I should be allowed to stand on a corner and spout off. If I want to say "All whiteys should be killed" then that too is OK. If people want to mock me for being a nutter, so be it. As far as I know, in NZ I still have relative freedom of speech and can say how much I dislike another race, or another sexuality or whatever. Promoting violence may not be allowed, but saying that we need to take action to rid our country of "these people" (whatever your definition of that may be) is still fine and legal. Well, legal anyway, but not necessarily "socially acceptable"

          I am someone who is old enough to remember how bad things used to be in this country, when people who were gay feared for their lives. People being allowed to speak out is one of the most crucial ways to prevent such days from happening again. My freedom depends on your freedom, and if I am allowed to say you're a despicable piece of garbage for disliking gay people, then you must also be free to say I am a revolting vile bit of hell-spawned and hell-bound garbage deserving only death for being the way I am.

          It is disgusting that YT makes money from things we dislike, but it is also something that we must allow to happen. Watch those who partake, who create the videos or the comments, give us a way to tell companies "I saw your add on such and such, I will no longer deal with you" and of course give them a way to choose where their adds are shown (most won't care), but for the sake of us and everyone to follow, keep this stuff FREE. Let the nut jobs rant and rave, otherwise the rest of us will be swept up in the efforts to shut them up.

          Time for another cuppa.

    2. WhyDoYouNeedThis

      Re: Unpopular solution ...

      Is that you Rupert Murdoch?

  24. adam payne Silver badge

    Despite the lack of evidence, the video's viral attention caused advertisers to pull their ads from the service.

    This is why they are making this token gesture, money.

  25. takyon
    Go

    it works

    The extraordinary measure is one more sign that the web giant's systems – which are designed to drive views and hence advertising money beyond all else – are fundamentally broken.

    These systems do work and accomplish what they are designed for. They just work a little too well.

    Also, when a company like Disney pulls ads, it's hard to take it seriously since they are angling to compete with their own streaming service.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Freedom to be Tossed About

    When you let a third-party manipulate your internet compass, you can't complain about the places you'll end up.

    To think, both priests and pedophiles are watching and commenting on Youtube videos.

    Salvation, damnation, and sin are all valid destinations in the A.I. driven addiction machine.

  28. -tim
    Holmes

    This will just move then to stranger chan boards

    A number of videos that my sister made of dance recitals have been found by adolescent boys and "fixed". The initial updates were crudely putting boy classmate's faces on the girls but I'm guessing someone found a pirate version of better video editing software so the fixes got better. Some of the latter work was fortune 500 tv commercial quality. And since these were adolescent boys, most can guess what else was added.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal status of legacy images

    Should the current classification of images include "Level 0" ie images which aren't specifically illegal in their original legacy form eg Polaroids in a physical photo album circa 1970 but in digital form are reclassified accordingly based on their offensiveness and perceived harm if released?

    This might be a workaround to the currently ridiculous laws that can punish someone for having a copy of themselves sans clothing in a photo album on their home PC provided that they be encrypted with at least two factor authentication and not shared with anyone who isn't vetted and cleared?

    Not sure how to resolve this conundrum, perhaps can lobby Parliament to have the relevant laws updated to reflect best practices used in GDPR?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Legal status of legacy images

      Bastard. Now you have me worried about the project I've been doing of digitising family pics. Several members of my family were photographed as children in states less-than-fully-dressed at times. Never even gave it a thought that I could be transgressing CP laws by starting with my own childhood.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't feel too bad

    Technically its still fine. If you were paranoid its possible to put "Molly Guard Bands" on the dodgy parts just in case.

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