Google’s YouTube is an Internet conduit to user-generated videos where the latest cute kitten videos are mixed together with hardcore pornography and rape videos.
Currently, YouTube has over a billion users—almost one-third of all people on the Internet—and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of content on YouTube and generate billions of views. YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the U.S. Every 60 seconds 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube and 323 days worth of YouTube videos are viewed on Facebook. Its 2014 revenue was estimated to be $4 billion.
Despite YouTube’s Community Guidelines, which specifically prohibit sexual nudity, pornography, and other sexually explicit content, masses of such content is uploaded on the website each day and Google allows much of it to remain, thus amassing millions of views and handsome profits.
When you turn on TV, you are not barraged with massive amounts of this kind material. Why is that when you open YouTube you’re flooded with suggestions to watch explicit sexual videos, even when typing in innocent searches? Given the popularity, quantity, and reach of content uploaded to the website, Google’s YouTube has a social responsibility to increase and improve efforts to curb sexual exploitation.
Requests to Google’s YouTube:
While NCOSE has successfully urged Google to curb exploitation on other fronts, and congratulates them for many positive changes regarding GooglePlay and AdWords, Google has remained reticent regarding changes to anything relating to the content on YouTube. While the launch of the YouTube Kids App is a step in right direction, it does not go far enough.
Together, with thousands of concerned parents and users, NCOSE urges Google to:
- Address the distribution of pornographic and other sexually exploitive content on its site.
- Develop a more thorough review process for channels applying to monetize their videos.
- Extend the AdWords policy to YouTube and refuse to profit from sexually exploitive content.
- Promote the Safe Search and Restricted Mode more among users and place these options in clear and easy-to-find view.
- Most importantly, we call on Google to use its creativity and immense talent to develop effective solutions for this growing problem.
PROBLEM: Users Must Serve As Moderators
Google’s current system depends largely on reactive moderating, which relies on users to flag and report offensive or sexually explicit content. Users must first watch the explicit content and then report exact times with descriptions if they wish to report it at all. YouTube prefers this method to taking responsibility upon itself to provide more active moderation and policing in real-time, because the views on explicit videos help to serve YouTube’s bottom line.
Often, the audience viewing this material is comprised of children. Pornography has a profound negative impact on the development of children and exposure puts them at greater risk for falling victims of exploitation themselves.
PROBLEM: Ads on Explicit Videos
Pornographic videos on YouTube often amass many views, becoming eligible for lucrative pre-roll video ads that make YouTube and the Uploading Channel lots of money.
PROBLEM: Searches and Related Content
Many innocent search terms used in YouTube will bring up hardcore and violent explicit videos because uploaders use misleading descriptions when adding the content. Certainly, Google has the ability to develop a system for analyzing the images and not just the text descriptions of uploaded content.
Another problem is that once users view an explicit video and then other videos with sexually explicit thumbnails will fill the list of suggested content on the right side of the screen, or will be listed as suggestions in the video player when finished watching the desired film. This is especially dangerous for younger audiences using YouTube.
PROBLEM: Enforce the Standards, Regardless of the Partner
Community Guidelines must apply to the entire community on YouTube, no matter how rich or famous someone might be.
Get Educated & Be Involved
Have regular discussions with your children about digital safety and your rules surrounding social media. For example: Make sure they are communicating only with people they know and that they realize the pictures they send don’t just vanish forever. Remind them, “Once on the Internet, always on the Internet!” Visit here, here, and here for more resources on teaching digital safety.
Consider using the social media tools that your children use so that you are not only aware of how it is used, but also as a way to show your children you care about their world, and to connect and communicate with them
NCOSE has successfully urged Google to curb exploitation on other fronts, and congratulates them for many positive changes regarding GooglePlay and AdWords. The launch of the YouTube Kids App is a step in right direction (not far enough). THANK THEM for these many positive policy changes here.
Ask Elected Officials to Amend Communications Decency Act
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