YouTube steps up takedowns as concerns about kids’ videos grow

A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration/File Photo)
Updated 23 November 2017
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YouTube steps up takedowns as concerns about kids’ videos grow

YouTube stepped up enforcement of its guidelines for videos aimed at children, the unit of Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday, responding to criticism that it has failed to protect children from adult content.
The streaming video service removed more than 50 user channels in the last week and stopped running ads on over 3.5 million videos since June, YouTube vice president Johanna Wright wrote in a blog post.
“Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies,” Wright said. “These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge.”
YouTube has become one of Google’s fastest-growing operations in terms of sales by simplifying the process of distributing video online but putting in place few limits on content.
Parents, regulators, advertisers and law enforcement have become increasingly concerned about the open nature of the service. They have contended that Google must do more to banish and restrict access to inappropriate videos, whether it be propaganda from religious extremists and Russia or comedy skits that appear to show children being forcibly drowned.
Concerns about children’s videos gained new force in the last two weeks after reports in BuzzFeed and the New York Times and an online essay by British writer James Bridle pointed out questionable clips.
A forum on the Reddit Internet platform dubbed ElsaGate, based on the Walt Disney Co. princess, also became a repository of problematic videos.
Several forum posts Wednesday showed support for YouTube’s actions while noting that vetting must expand even further.
Common Sense Media, an organization that monitors children’s content online, did not immediately respond to a request to comment about YouTube’s announcement.
YouTube’s Wright cited “a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not” for the new efforts “to remove them from YouTube.”
The company relies on review requests from users, a panel of experts and an automated computer program to help its moderators identify material possibly worth removing.
Moderators now are instructed to delete videos “featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader’s intent,” Wright said. Videos with popular characters “but containing mature themes or adult humor” will be restricted to adults, she said.
In addition, commenting functionality will be disabled on any videos where comments refer to children in a “sexual or predatory” manner. (Reporting by Paresh Dave)


Twitter suspends two accounts linked to 12 Russians indicted by Mueller

The accounts have been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 July 2018
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Twitter suspends two accounts linked to 12 Russians indicted by Mueller

  • The indictment alleges that from around June 2016 the conspirators released tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents “using fictitious online personas, including ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0.’.”
  • Friday’s indictment was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election

WASHINGTON: Social networking site Twitter Inc. on Saturday suspended two accounts linked to 12 Russian spies indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.
On Friday, a federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016 in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the election to help Republican Donald Trump.
Twitter said on Saturday it had suspended the accounts @DCLeaks_ and @Guccifer_2 that were named in the indictment, which alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy involving sophisticated hacking and staged release of documents.
The indictment alleges that from around June 2016 the conspirators released tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents “using fictitious online personas, including ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0.’.”
In a statement on Saturday, a Twitter spokesman said: “The accounts have been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules.”
Friday’s indictment was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election. The Kremlin denies it interfered.
Speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the indictments proved that the United States “will not tolerate interference with our democratic processes and that there will be consequences for foreign meddling.”