Google’s amazing content moderation bots are at it again. YouTube is now flagging a horror video as “for kids,” after the first kids’ videos included suicide instructions, and the whole Elsagate problem. The worst part is that it is against the will of the creator. The video was previously flagged for age 18 and over, and YouTube decided it was intended for children and would not let the creator restore its content rating.
The video in question is from the horror series Local58TV. Creator, Kirs Straub, Checked out her account over the weekend and found that her content not intended for kids has been viewed by YouTube’s content moderation AI, and is automatically marked for kids.
congratulations @youtube on the decision to nominate @LOCAL58TVFor kids as a “show for kids” despite I set it as inappropriate for kids. I can’t change it voluntarily without *appeal* pic.twitter.com/dnhmzL9hbi
— Chris Straub (@krisstraub) 5 July 2022
“For kids” in this context means that Google has flagged the video for inclusion in the “YouTube Kids” app, which is a separate interface to YouTube intended to only show a “safe” curated piece of YouTube. . The “kids” flag also means the video is forced to comply with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), so the comments have been closed.
Local58TV’s nine videos have millions of views and are well-known for their Wikipedia page. The channel’s about page describes itself as “analog horror at 476MHz. Unstable shorts in footage/VHS aesthetics from Chris Straub.” The channel’s most popular video, “Contingency”, is a fake public service announcement from the “US Department for the Protection of American Dignity”. The message is set on a super-scary rendition of star-spangled banner, declares that America has lost the war and is forced to surrender. You can “take America with you” by killing/suicide your family, before the occupiers arrive. The video continues with instructions. This is clearly not the type of channel that is for kids!
YouTube doesn’t get the Local58TV vibe though. It automatically flagged an episode titled “Show for Children” for children. You can see how an AI bot might cross its strings with that title, but it immediately says “not for kids” in the description, and the creator, Straub, originally called the video’s age rating “18+”. ” when it was uploaded. ,
The episode is a black-and-white cartoon where a cute cartoon skeleton wanders around a cemetery in search of a cute cartoon girlfriend skeleton, only to find terrifying, more realistic skeletons and other creatures in open graves. At the end of the video, the cute skeleton, seemingly from depression, lies down in a grave and dies, turning into a realistic skeleton. Cartoons are something an AI bot can’t understand, but a human can tell right away that a disturbing video isn’t kid-friendly. YouTube certainly isn’t hurting for the money, with its $28.8 billion in revenue last year, but it doesn’t seem to be hiring a significant number of human moderators.
YouTube not only explicitly flags a video as “inappropriate for children” as “Made for Kids” but also doesn’t allow the creator to change it back. The video’s content is now labeled “Made for Kids (Set by YouTube)” and Straub has been forced to file an appeal with YouTube to fix the video’s age rating.
Even if you’re using a robot for moderation, it doesn’t matter for YouTube to be in this position. For every single video uploaded, YouTube asks if a video is kid-friendly. Since YouTube already has this data, it’s unclear why it would ever attempt to automatically categorize videos, specifically by reducing an age rating that is clearly defined as “adults only”. was set as. As fragile and subjective to some as whether or not certain content should be viewed by a child, it seems Google should err on the side of caution.
At press time, Straub made the issue public 20 hours ago and it has not been resolved. Disable comment section and “Try YouTube Kids!” You can tell because the video is still flagged for kids. Advertisement below. You only get suggestions for other “kids” content, which, at a glance, doesn’t show as much death as normal Local58TV content.