In an effort to protect young users, YouTube is considering shifting all content for children to a separate app, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Critics of the Google-owned video platform have frequently warned that the feature that automatically plays another video after one is finished can inadvertently expose children to inappropriate content.
YouTube executives are now considering transferring children’s videos to the stand-alone YouTube kids app. This could represent a major financial risk for the platform, as children’s content comes with millions of dollars in advertising and is among YouTube’s most popular categories of video.
Some employees are pushing for a different modification that would automatically switch off the feature that automatically plays another video, the WSJ reported.
The idea for a separate app is being floated as YouTube increasingly comes under scrutiny for what critics say is inadequate policing of videos targeting or featuring children, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai taking a more hands-on role in the running of the site lately, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently wrote in a private memo to employees that some recent calls by the company on recent controversies were “disappointing and painful.”
Last year, a survey from the Pew Research Center found that more than 80 percent of parents with children aged 11 or younger have given them permission to watch a YouTube video, with more than a third of them letting their children use the site regularly.
Earlier this month, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnHouse Oversight Democrat presses Facebook for 'failure' to protect users Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to Wojcicki demanding answers after a New York Times report found YouTube's suggestion algorithms were picking up home movies of children, leading to concern such innocent fare was being served up to predators on the platform.
“The sexualization of children through YouTube’s recommendation engine represents the development of a dangerous new kind of illicit content meant to avoid law enforcement detection. Action is overdue,” the senators wrote.