YouTube plans to release a non-algorithmic version, included in the whitelist of its YouTube Kids app in the near future as a way to inadvertently avoid suggesting questionable or graphic content for children, according to a report this evening from ] BuzzFeed News . The modified version of the application will also be restricted to videos from manually selected channels that a team of YouTube curators will approve.
The decision, although not yet officially announced, comes amidst long-standing concerns about YouTube's suggestion algorithm that inherently drives viewers to increasingly extremist content. Last month, a report from Business Insider illustrated how the YouTube Kids app suggested children watch videos full of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the shape of the Earth, the moon landing and if there are extraterrestrials.
Last year, YouTube was involved in a controversy called "Elsagate" that involved strange, surreal, and sometimes disturbing videos with Disney characters and superheroes designed specifically for gaming the YouTube Kids algorithm and accumulated views. The platform has also been attacked by its host of extremist content and content-moderation approach to appease advertisers who find their products advertised along with questionable content. In addition to these controversies, YouTube has had trouble dealing with the people behind the channels that sell questionable content, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was stripped of the ad channels, and influencer Logan Paul, who follows suspended for 90 days. in conflict with YouTube's policies.
YouTube has made a series of efforts to try to crack down on the content of child exploitation, including removing advertising from millions of videos, imposing age restrictions on the marked content and increasing the number of moderators humans that scan your platform. To combat misinformation, YouTube announced last month that it would use Wikipedia to help verify suspicious videos of selling conspiracy theories, only for Wikipedia to turn around and publicly announce that it was never informed of the decision.
We do not know when exactly the special version of the YouTube Kids application will be released, but BuzzFeed reports that the option to switch to the non-algorithmic version included in the whitelist will be optional for parents and could reach as soon as this month.