YouTube is putting new age restrictions on gun videos

YouTube has quietly rolled out a policy change that age-restricts some gun-related videos and bans others outright. Content involving homemade and automatic firearms will be prohibited for viewers under 18, and tutorials for removing safety devices will be prohibited, regardless of age. The new policy will be effective from June 18.

“From June 18, 2024, certain content showing how to remove security devices will be banned” refusal YouTube’s firearms policy page now reads: “Content depicting the use of homemade firearms, automatic firearms and certain firearm accessories will be age-restricted.”

In a statement to Engadget, YouTube spokesperson Javier Hernandez wrote: “These updates to our firearms policy are part of our ongoing efforts to maintain policies that reflect the current state of content on YouTube. For example, 3D printing has become more readily available in recent years, so we’re expanding our limits on homemade firearms. We regularly review our guidelines and consult with outside experts to make sure we’re drawing the line in the right place.”

YouTube added that the bans would apply to real-world use of firearms and would not apply to video games, movie clips or other artistic content. The platform may also make exceptions for content of public interest, such as military or police footage, news or war zone videos.

The change comes a year after the nonprofit Tech Transparency Project (TTP) petitioned YouTube. Recommending gun-related content to multiple “kids” accounts The organization was set up to see how easily the platform’s algorithms lured underage users to gun videos. The researchers created four accounts, two of which were nine-year-old boys and another pair pretending to be 14-year-old boys. The accounts viewed playlists of videos about Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Lego Star Wars and other video game franchises. Robloxand the team monitored the accounts to see what recommendations appeared.

See, YouTube allegedly recommends content related to guns and shootings. “These videos contain scenes of school shootings and other mass shootings; a graphic demonstration of how much damage weapons can do to the human body; and instructions for converting a pistol into a fully automatic weapon,” TTP wrote at the time.

Other recommended videos showed a young girl firing a handgun and tutorials for converting handguns into fully automatic weapons. Some of the content is monetized with ads.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, recently famous Conviction of a 77-year-old man WHO he was having trouble staying awake in court It was called immediately after the TTP report last year. DA asked to meet with YouTube CEO Neal Mohan to discuss why the platform allows video tutorials for “rock guns” assembled using 3D-printed parts or kit components.

The Technical Transparency Project welcomed the policy change, but warned that the real test will be how strictly YouTube enforces it. “YouTube’s age-restricted gun content policy changes are a step in the right direction given that firearms are the number one cause of death for children and teens in America, but it’s unclear why the company has taken so long to address the issue. “, TTP director Kathy Paul wrote in a press release. “As always with YouTube, the real proof of change is whether or not the company enforces its policies on the books. Until YouTube takes real steps to prevent videos about guns and violence from reaching minors, its policies remain empty.”

Update, June 6, 2023, 3:19 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a statement from YouTube and additional information.

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