YouTube Announces New Stricter Policies

YouTube Announces New Stricter Policies

YouTube Announces New Stricter Policies

YouTube, owned by Google, announced this week that it will be updating its policy on firearm videos in an effort to keep potentially dangerous content from reaching underage users.

Excel Magazine International reports that the platform will now prohibit any videos instructing viewers on how to remove firearm safety devices.

Additionally, videos showcasing homemade guns, automatic weapons, and certain firearm accessories like silencers will be restricted to users aged 18 and older. These changes are set to take effect on June 18.

This policy update comes after consistent calls from gun safety advocates urging YouTube to take stronger measures to ensure gun-related content does not reach the site’s youngest users. Such content has the potential to traumatize children or lead them towards extremism and violence.

YouTube already had policies in place prohibiting content intended to sell firearms and accessories or instruct viewers on how to make their own weapons.

Livestreams showing people handling or holding firearms were also banned. However, the platform has acknowledged that while some content may not violate existing policies, it might still be inappropriate for underage users.

Exceptions will be made for videos that show firearms in contexts of public interest, such as news clips, war footage, or police activity.

Katie Paul, director of the Tech Transparency Project, welcomed the new policy but questioned why it took so long for YouTube to implement these changes. Paul emphasized that her group will closely monitor how effectively YouTube enforces the new rules.

“Firearms are the number one cause of death for children and teens in America,” said Paul. “As always with YouTube, the real proof of change is whether the company enforces the policies it has on the books. Until YouTube takes real action to prevent videos about guns and gun violence from reaching minors, its policies remain empty words.”

Last year, researchers from Paul’s group found that YouTube’s recommendation system forwarded graphic videos to accounts mimicking the behavior of 9-year-old boys.

These videos included school shootings, tactical gun training, and how-to instructions on making firearms fully automatic.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg recently urged YouTube to stop the proliferation of firearm-related videos to young users, criticizing the platform for failing to enforce its own policies. In light of the new policy, Bragg expressed his approval.

“We have heard firsthand from young individuals that YouTube’s algorithm is driving them to the world of illegal and 3D-printed firearms, which is having a direct impact on the safety of Manhattanites,” Bragg said in a statement.

YouTube stated that the policy changes aim to reflect new developments in firearm technology, such as the increased availability of 3D-printed guns.

The platform requires users under 17 to obtain parental permission before using the site, and accounts for users younger than 13 must be linked to a parental account.

“We regularly review our guidelines and consult with outside experts to make sure we are drawing the line at the right place,” said YouTube spokesperson Javier Hernandez.

YouTube, along with TikTok, is one of the most popular sites for children and teens. Both platforms have faced scrutiny for hosting and sometimes promoting videos that encourage gun violence, eating disorders, and self-harm.

Several perpetrators of recent mass shootings have used social media and video streaming platforms to glorify violence and even livestream their attacks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *