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YouTube's Kids app suggested conspiracy theory videos

It's still difficult to completely scrub the app of foul material.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 18, 2018
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As much work as YouTube may have done to scrub vile videos from its Kids app, there's still some work to go. Business Insider has discovered that the Kids app was suggesting conspiracy theory videos when you searched for certain keywords. If you looked for "UFO," for instance, you'd find videos from David Icke parroting numerous discredited conspiracy theories, including the notion that the planet is run by reptile-human hybrids.

YouTube removed the videos after BI got in contact, and was quick to acknowledge the difficulty of keeping the Kids app squeaky clean. The team screens content using "human trained systems," according to the statement," but "sometimes we miss the mark."

The company has lately been taking active steps to fight misinformation, including the use of Wikipedia (much to Wikipedia's surprise) to debunk hoaxes. However, child-oriented apps unsurprisingly face a much higher level of scrutiny -- they're not supposed to show any false material, contextual help or otherwise. And it's tough to completely remove that content when hundreds of hours of new videos are uploaded every minute. Unless YouTube can offer virtually flawless filtering, these kinds of incidents may reoccur.

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