A ‘Trusted Flagger’ for YouTube has claimed in the New York Post that there are “thousands” of pedophiles on the site who “use it to abuse children every day.” The poster, who has kept their name anonymous, say that “it’s a huge problem, and has been for many years” and goes on to directly accuse the company of “failing to act” to counter the problem and is therefore ” letting pedophiles have free rein”.
What is a Trusted Flagger?
A Trusted Flagger is a person or organisation that is given access to more powerful video flagging tools than the average user. They are vetted and approved as trustworthy by the site and so are given more comprehensive powers to alert the company to potentially harmful videos. The system is necessary both to combat the problem of harmful videos on the site, but also because of the sad fact that flagging systems tend to be abused by normal users, who use them to troll videos they don’t like.
According to Engadget, these Flaggers “don’t have the ability to manually curate or remove videos, but they can flag up to 20 at once for internal review.” In other words, they can’t just delete videos from the site, but their suggestion that a video might be problematic is treated more urgently than a normal flagging.
Why is this person making these claims?
The Flagger, who identifies themselves simply by the initials ‘B.M’, says that: “In the past six months, YouTube has only acted upon 5 percent of my reports. And that happened after a lot of nagging and dozens of e-mails!” Due to the nature of the post, we are not able to verify the authenticity of the claims B.M is making (or even that they actually work for YouTube), but the post raises a lot of issues that need to be discussed regardless.
These are obviously very heavy allegations, but not ones that are necessarily surprising given the sheer size of YouTube and the obvious difficulty that comes with policing people’s content without also appearing to be censoring. With 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it seems like an almost impossible task to pull off – but could they still be doing more?
We reached out to YouTube for comment
A YouTube spokesperson got back to us. They said:
“YouTube strictly prohibits content that sexually exploits minors. Engaging in any type of activity that sexualizes minors – including leaving inappropriate comments – will result in an account termination once our teams have reviewed the content and found that it violates our policies. We encourage all users, including Trusted Flaggers, to continue flagging videos or comments so we can take action.“
What do you think? How much blame do you place on YouTube for this? Do you think this is an issue that they will ever truly be able to resolve? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.
We have reached out to YouTube for comment and will edit the article to include it, if and when they reply.