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YouTube disables comments on millions of videos featuring kids; recommends holding comments for moderation

This week YouTube Partners expressed fears of a new "adpocalypse", with advertisers were pausing their spending on reports of a "softcore pedophilia ring" organized through comments on videos featuring children posing, doing gymnastics and yoga and just playing. 

YouTube has quickly responded by disabling comments and limiting monetization of potentially affected videos.
  • YouTube has temporarily disabled comments on "tens of millions of videos that may include minors". 
  • Also monetization may be limited. Videos that include minors and might be at risk for predatory comments may not be considered advertiser-friendly and show the yellow $ icon   indicating that it will receive limited or no ads.
If this affects one or more of your videos, it does not mean you have done anything wrong. 
This is what YouTube recommends:
  • If your video features minors, consider keeping comments turned off. 
  • If you do re-enable comments, you should not allow them to automatically appear on your video. Instead hold all comments for review. See instructions below.
  • If you believe your video should not have monetization limited, submit an appeal. If your channel has at least 10,000 subscribers, YouTube will review your video while it's unlisted. If your channel has fewer subscribers,your video must have had at least 1000 views in the past 7 days to be reviewed.
Note that if you also have a blog or website with AdSense ads, you are responsible for all user-generated content, including comments.  You may want to hold comments there for moderation as well.

Update February 28: YouTube has provided some additional information about additional actions it is taking over the coming months:

  • YouTube will be suspending comments on more videos "featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior"
  • Only a small number of creators will be able to keep comments on such videos featuring children, and YouTube will work with those channels directly to ensure they actively moderate all comments.
  • YouTube has launched a new "comments classifier" that is better at automatically detecting and removing predatory comments.
  • YouTube is terminating channels that "attempt to endanger children in any way".

How to hold all comments on your videos or channel for review

Note: you may need to switch from Creator Studio Beta back to classic Creator Studio to change these settings.

Enable comments to be held for review on one video:
  1. Sign in to YouTube
  2. Find the video in the Video Manager. 
  3. Under the video, click Edit.
  4. Click Advanced Settings.
  5. Under "Allow comments," select Approved. 
Enable comments to be held for review on all videos on your channel:
  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.
  2. Click on your account icon at top right  , then Creator Studio.
  3. In the menu, select Community, then Community Settings. Or go directly to www.youtube.com/comment_management
  4. Scroll down to the "Default Settings" section.
  5. Select "Hold all comments for review" 
  6. Save your settings by clicking the blue Save button at top right.
These settings apply to comments going forward, not existing comments.

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