YouTube Will Use Machine Learning to Better Enforce Age Restrictions

YouTube said Tuesday that it has updated its technology to enable the tech giant to better enforce its age restriction policies.

YouTube will use machine learning to automatically apply age restrictions on videos, the Google-owned video site said Tuesday, widening its use of artificial intelligence to automate blocking some videos from viewers who either aren’t signed into a YouTube account or are signed in as a viewer under the age of 18.

“Our Trust & Safety team applies age-restrictions when, in the course of reviewing content, they encounter a video that isn’t appropriate for viewers under 18,” the company said in a blog post. “Going forward, we will build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions.”

Any age-restricted video that is embedded in a third-party website will require the user to click through and watch it on the YouTube platform. This will ensure that young viewers aren’t able to get around the age restriction by watching the content elsewhere, though this may be a bit annoying for everyone else.

Creators who believe their videos were blocked unfairly can appeal. YouTube said these automated age restrictions and some tweaks to what it categorizes as inappropriate for people under 18 will all “roll out over the coming months.”

YouTube already has the YouTube for kids app for users under age 13, while flagged content may come with an age gate. The company has also cracked down on extremist content surfacing on the platform. In 2017, it introduced machine learning technology to weed out such content. Technology similar to that will now be used to find videos deemed acceptable only for a mature audience.