According to a statement made by the social media platform on Thursday, the ban, along with other updated privacy controls, will be implemented in the coming months.
“Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior,” the statement read. “These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months. We will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.”
Any channels that YouTube deems acceptable to keep comments enabled must strictly monitor them and “demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior.” The social media site added that it is accelerating the launch of automated software for detecting and removing predatory comments that will be twice as effective and efficient as its current algorithm.
The company will also continue to crack down on any users or channels that “attempt to endanger children in any way” which includes “videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges,” referring to the viral Momo Challenge that allegedly encourages kids to self-harm and even commit suicide.
YouTube’s announcement comes after vlogger Matt Watson discovered last week that pedophiles were using the comments section of kids’ videos to link timestamps of the minors caught in suggestive poses. Some of the comments even clicked through to private child pornography videos.
The shocking scandal not only caused widespread concern among parents but resulted in many major advertisers, including Epic Games (the creators of Fortnite), Disney, and AT&T, to pull their ads from the platform.
A YouTube spokesperson told Buzzfeed, “We understand that comments are an important way creators build and connect with their audiences, we also know that this is the right thing to do to protect the YouTube community.”