YouTube has disabled comments on videos featuring minors which "could be at risk of attracting predatory behaviour" in the wake of reports that a paedophile ring was hiding in plain sight under videos of children.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki acknowledged the concerns Thursday, tweeting, "Nothing is more important to us than ensuring the safety of young people on the platform".
YouTube says it will ban comments on videos featuring young minors, including cases where the videos are deemed to be "at risk" of attracting pedophiles' attention.
YouTube is using an artificial intelligence technique called machine learning to build the software that will automatically select which videos will have comments suspended, a spokeswoman said.
"Based on our review of historical comments, a small number of channels that we have identified as having a high level of risk for predatory comments will not be able to re-enable comments, even with moderation", the statement from the company read.
It led to several companies suspending adverts on YouTube, including Disney and Fortnite developer Epic Games.
YouTube said in a statement that it works to make the videos on YouTube Kids family-friendly and takes feedback seriously, according to CNN.
"Paedophiles are trading social media contacts; they're trading links to actual child porn in YouTube comments; they're trading unlisted videos in secret, and YouTube's algorithm through some glitch in its programming is facilitating their ability to do this", Watson said at the time.
Comments posted on the videos included messages such as, "You're pretty and your girlfriends are nice too".
"We also know that this is the right thing to do to protect the YouTube community". He expects it to have a "massive impact" on those videos' views as fans find themselves unable to communicate with each other through the comments section. "All of these videos were found on YouTube Kids, a platform that advertises itself to be a safe place for children 8 years old and under".
YouTube has used AI software to classify videos and identify specific content, but the system has had mixed results, including recommending conspiracy theories and other questionable information.
YouTube told the BBC it would use algorithms to scan through the millions of hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every day, to detect which videos contained children.
YouTube also terminated certain YouTube channels that were attempting to endanger children.
Those investments haven't stopped the run of controversies for the company, which some critics contend has simply become too large to manage safely and effectively - especially when it comes to protecting children. YouTube also managed to generate extra revenue with "Super Chat" that users pay to display prominently with live-streamed videos.