YouTube might have finally figured out a way to keep creepy, exploitative videos away from children using the YouTube Kids app: Human curators.
An upcoming, technically-not-yet-confirmed new version of the app eliminates the algorithm that selects which videos show up for viewing. Instead, a team of actual humans will review content and handpick channels that are kid-friendly.
The existence of this “whitelisted” YouTube Kids app is noted in a new BuzzFeed report, citing “a source familiar with YouTube’s plans.” The older, algorithm-powered version of the app will continue to exist as well; the human-curated release will complement it, offering parents an alternative.
The new app could be released in the coming weeks, BuzzFeed’s source said.
Content curation has been an ongoing issue for YouTube in general, but the algorithmic selection of videos for the kids app in particular has been criticized frequently. Last November, the company started to get serious about better protecting kid viewers and removing problematic channels.
The move came a month after Mashable’s own Brian Koerber examined the circumstances that led to the YouTube Kids app recommending questionable videos. It’s an issue YouTube has committed itself to fixing, and a human-curated Kids app would be one more step in that direction.
A Google spokesperson responded to Mashable’s request for comment with the following: “We are always working to update and improve YouTube Kids, however we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”
UPDATED April 7, 2018, 2:13 p.m. ET with a statement from a Google spokesperson.