At the end of February, YouTube announced that they will disable the comment section on YouTube channels featuring children.

The main purpose of the comment section is for people to discuss, communicate, and create community. It’s free space, people can comment positive or negative things. Unfortunately, the negative comments that might cause harm to young people are increasing.

‘But isn’t this kind of comments already been existing for a long time?’ you may wonder. The answer is yes but YouTube just really taking action when some guy called Matt Wilson made a video about child abuse and predatory comments on family-friendly videos featuring children. Then he reported it to the advertisers who sponsoring his video rather than report them to YouTube. This leads to some big advertisers, like Disney, Hasbro, Nestle, and Epic Games pulling out their ads from YouTube to avoid being linked to child predatory comment. So YouTube decided to disabled the comment section to protect minors from those predatory comments.

YouTube announced on their blog post that they disabled the comment section on many videos featuring minors that risk to be subject of predatory comments and they will continue to apply this action on more videos. YouTube said that this action aims to keep young people safe and protect them from predatory behavior on YouTube’s comment section.

YouTube is disabling most of the comment sections on the video featuring children but they still allow a small amount of YouTube channels to keep comment section enable, on condition that those channels require to actively check and filter the comments on their videos.

Moreover, YouTube also announced on the same blog post that they are launching a new comment classifier “we had been working on an even more effective classifier, that will identify and remove predatory comments”.

Youtube policy on comment section

Due to the YouTube policy, YouTube have some conditions to secure the safety of the user and the video creator if any of these conditions is infringe the video will be removed from the websites. YouTube does not allow any nudity or any sexual content including pornography and also does not allow harmful and violent content. YouTube also take serious action about child endangerment or sexualization on the platform by working with the expert organization to export any child exploitation. Copyright issues is another thing that YouTube really considered about, you must respect the copyright and only publish the video you made and own the right. There is also a condition for the comment section which people should follow by not put out those hateful comments. The thing is that what considered hateful? First, you should aware before comment to make sure that your comment does not incite violence against people. Furthermore, Threats, predatory behavior, stalk or intimidation will cause the user to be permanently removed from YouTube. But to be clear every videos and comments should be reconsidered by its context and what is their true intentions.

What we should do on this situation

One thing that both viewers and creators can do, not only for this situation but in general, is looking out for each other. Whenever you watch or come across a video or a livestream featuring minors. Do a quick check and filter the comments and if you see comments that are inappropriate, abusive and harmful towards the minors, report it. With everyone’s help, we hopefully will reduce a lot of predatory users and comments.

Report the comment if you see any inappropriate contents.

Impact on YouTubers

Even though this action of YouTube aims to prevent predatory comments but this also causes negative impacts on creators of the YouTube channel that include children. The comment section is the way subscribers and YouTubers communicate with each other, give feedback and get support. The comments also help YouTubers improve their videos and gain more subscribers. With this action, YouTube is cutting the channel for them to interact. Creators can’t receive feedback from their viewers, like what they like, don’t like or what can be improved. Therefore, they might lose some subscribers.

Not only YouTube cut communication way by disabled comment section but also creating a risk for the video to get demonetize even their video is completely innocent. By getting demonetize, it’s mean that creators will not get pay from that video, their video will not appear on the recommended section, and it will be harder to search for.

An example of how this action highly affects creators on YouTube is from a YouTube channel called ‘Special Books by Special Kids’. The creators of this video, Chris Ulmer and Alyssa, posted a video ‘YouTube’s Discriminatory New Policies are Destroying our Mission of Inclusion (We Need Your Help)’. In the video, they talk about how YouTube disabled comments policy affects their channel. Special Books by Special kids is a channel that share experience, thought and feeling of the people who live with disability. In order to educate and show that disabled people are also human just like everyone. Moreover, this channel also helps disabled people connect with the ones who understand and support them. With this YouTube action, Chris said that two purposes of their channel are for disabled people communicate with the world and let the world communicate with them but now YouTube just took that opportunity away from them because of the new policy.

YouTube channel ‘Special Books by Special Kids’ affected by YouTube’s new policy.

Benefit of enable and disable YouTube comment

Even Though it seems to be a negative action of YouTube to disable the comment but it also has benefits within it. Let’s classify the benefits of enable and disable comment on YouTube. The advantages of enabling the YouTube comment is that it increases the interest rate which causes a lively discussion between the viewers or with the video creators themselves. Cause from the high interaction between the viewers, it can create a small community by watching and commenting. In addition, the channel owners can use the comment or criticism as a motivator to improve further videos. Enable comment can also leads the video to the top search and make the video more popular and well-known due to the amount of comments rank by the process of YouTube AI. Most of the viewers usually scrolling through the comments while watching video. By enabling the comment section, if they read the positive comments under the video and it can generate more interest in the video and attract people to watch the video longer.

The benefits of disable comment that can clearly see is that we can avoid seeing those negative comments and also decrease the rate of hating and opposing if the content of your video is controversial like LGBT, Gun control law, Gender inequality. In addition, if there is no comment, there will be no spam problem either. Like said above about the benefit of enable comment that it highly interacts within the comment section, disable comment also encourage the interaction too but within different forum, because some of the content creators might only use YouTube as one of the alternative platforms but they have different private forum that they already have their own audience like Facebook groups. For the marketing purpose video, disable comment might be better to prevent negative comment towards the product and reduce the risk of losing customers.

To conclude, since YouTube is a huge platform we can not blame them for disabled the comment due to the huge amount of their users. However, on the other hand, we believe that they could come up with a better solution that will benefit both the website and the video owners. As mentioned above, it is true that there are benefits follow after disabled the comment but the drawbacks of YouTube act cause a huge negative impact and burden on the video creators. For some of the YouTubers, disable comment is like cutting their income and their opportunity which is really a big deal for some of them who rely mostly on this platform.

From our viewpoints, we think that the disable comment is only a short-term plan and only solving a problem at the consequence not the roots of the cause. What we like to suggest is that YouTube should focus on the specific comment that causes a problem and permanently blocking them out of the website rather than disable all of the comments. Because of the intentions of the creators is not to attract the pedophiles but only wanted to spread their thoughts and creativity with their child. To sum up, YouTube should not disable all of the comment but should take serious action on some of the people who commenting hateful comment on such an innocent content.