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YouTube is disabling comments on almost all videos featuring children

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Only a few select channels will have comment sections enabled

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube will no longer allow the majority of channels featuring kids to include comment sections following a controversy over predatory comments being posted on videos of children.

YouTube will temporarily remove comments from videos that feature minors in the coming months. Only a select few channels with children will be allowed to include a comment sections, but even that comes with a caveat: they’ll be required to monitor their comments for safety.

“These channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior,” YouTube wrote in a blog post.

YouTube also says it’s launched a better algorithm to let it automatically “identify and remove predatory comments.” The classifier is “more sweeping in scope,” according to the blog post, and will catch up to twice as many predatory comments from individuals.

YouTube’s decision to remove comments comes in the wake of major corporations like Disney, Nestlé, AT&T and Fortnite maker Epic Games pausing ad spending after discovering their ads were playing on videos that had predatory comments on them. It’s unclear if those companies have reactivated their spending, or if they plan to at this time.

As part of an initial response, YouTube said last week that it had deleted tens of millions of comments and removed more than 400 channels associated with writing predatory comments on videos staring minors.

YouTube also sought to clear up confusion around how these changes will impact creators’ ability to run ads. In its blog post, YouTube says none of this will affect creators’ monetization. That was a concern among YouTubers as the controversy arose, along with comments being weaponized against creators.

A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that although the company understands comment sections are important to creators as way of measuring engagement, “we also know that this is the right thing to do to protect the YouTube community.”