YouTube plans to release a non-algorithmic and approved version of its YouTube Kids app soon in order to ward off involuntarily suggesting questionable or graphic content to children. The modified version of the app will also be limited to videos from hand-selected channels that a team of human curators from YouTube approve.
The decision which is yet to be officially announced came in the midst of enduring concerns over YouTube’s suggestion algorithm that steers viewers towards extremist content. Last month for instance, the YouTube Kids app was suggesting children watch videos filled with deception and conspiracy theories about the shape of the Earth, the Moon landing, and whether aliens exist.
Last year, YouTube became entangled in a controversy called “Elsagate” involving strange, unrealistic and disturbing videos that feature Disney characteristics and superheroes designed specially in a plot to manipulate the YouTube Kids algorithm and rack up views. YouTube has also been attacked for hosting extremist content and its bumbling approach to content moderation to pacify advertisers that find their products advertised with questionable content. Furthermore, YouTube has fought to deal with people behind channels that pitch questionable content like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who had his channel denudated of ads and Logan Paul who is yet on a 90-day suspension for violating YouTube’s policies.
YouTube has made efforts to reduce child exploitation content through removal of ads from lots of videos, imposing age restrictions on flagged content, and increasing the number of human moderators that scan its platform. Last month, to fight misinformation, YouTube announced that it would be use Wikipedia to fact check videos suspected of vending conspiracy theories, but Wikipedia turned and announced that it was never informed of the decision.
We don’t exactly know when the special version of the YouTube Kids app will debut but our sources state that it could arrive this month. In a statement, a YouTube spokesperson stated “We are always working to update and improve YouTube Kids, however we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”