A new report from Business Insider found that the YouTube Kids app suggested videos that contained conspiracy theories, including ones that said the Earth is flat and that the U.S. faked all of its moon landings, among many others.
One suggested video even posited to children that use the app “that the planet is ruled by reptile-human hybrids,” according to Business Insider.
As the Deseret News previously reported, YouTube Kids is a separate app from YouTube that aims to bring children age-appropriate videos, many of which are from cartoons and animated shows.
YouTube came under fire last year when parents noticed videos that contained violent, sexual and inappropriate material could be found in the Kids app.
The problem appears to still exist, according to Business Insider. For example, one search of the word “UFO” brought up numerous kids videos about aliens, but also “one of the top videos claimed to show a UFO shooting at a chemtrail,” according to Business Insider. Other videos on the app were filmed by prominent conspiracy theorists, too.
YouTube later removed 25 videos after Business Insider told the company about its findings.
YouTube also released a statement on Business Insider's discovery:
"The YouTube Kids app is home to a wide variety of content that includes enriching and entertaining videos for families. This content is screened using human trained systems. That being said, no system is perfect and sometimes we miss the mark. When we do, we take immediate action to block the videos or, as necessary, channels from appearing in the app. We will continue to work to improve the YouTube Kids app experience."
Based on the Business Insider report, it doesn't look like YouTube has kept children completely safe from inappropriate videos, according to Mashable.
“The problem for YouTube, though, is that with the vast amount of videos on its platform, the company hasn't done a very good job at filtering out what is and isn't suitable for children,” Mashable reported.
Exactly a year ago, numerous reports revealed videos appearing to be safe child-friendly videos on the Kids app turned out to be full of violent and inappropriate material, according to the Deseret News.
For example, the videos showed cartoon characters from “Peppa the Pig” breaking each other’s bones.
“In another featuring Doc McStuffins, children are turned into zombies with bleeding wounds on their faces and chase their mother around the house,” the Deseret News reported.
In response, YouTube announced that it deleted thousands of videos from its service, BuzzFeed reported. The company said in a blog post that it would also add 10,000 reviewers to keep an eye on all of the videos posted on the app.
Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer said at the time that hiring more bodies wouldn’t necessarily fix the problem, though.
"At the end of the day, large tech companies are run by the bottom line, and I think YouTube has been an incredibly successful platform for Google, and they have simply not paid enough attention to some of the bad stuff that happens on that platform," he said.
Parents Television Council President Tim Winter told the Deseret News in an email that while YouTube’s decision made sense, the company still needed to do more.2 comments on this story
“We applaud Google’s decision to increase monitoring of violent and extreme content — both the videos and comments — on YouTube. This is a great first step towards not only protecting advertisers, but also protecting the health and safety of young viewers who may be watching. Our past research on YouTube found that children entering ‘child-friendly’ search terms were confronted with highly offensive content in the text commentary posted by other site users. YouTube continues to be a site that needs constant monitoring, and today’s announcement should assist with that goal,” Winter said.