[TF Opinion] YouTube Adopts Stricter Age Limits for Firearms Content

Li Nguyen

YouTube just updated its firearms policy, which will now ban or restrict some gun-related content. This means that some videos featuring homemade or automatic firearms are banned completely, while tutorials showing how to remove safety devices are prohibited no matter the viewer’s age. The policy change goes into effect on June 18, 2024, and exceptions will be made for video games, film clips, or other artistic content.

What’s Happening & Why This Matters

YouTube spokesperson Javier Hernandez stated that these changes to their firearms policy are designed to reflect their current state of content. The prohibitions won’t pertain to video games, film clips, or other artistic content. However, military or police footage, news, or warzone videos may be given exceptions. This change was inspired by a report by the Tech Transparency Project, which revealed that YouTube has been recommending gun-related content to child accounts.

YouTube’s New Firearms Policy – Restrictions and Ban

YouTube recently made an update to their firearms policy, resulting in the banning or age restrictions of specific gun-related content. The change set to take effect on June 18, 2024, will ban videos featuring homemade or automatic firearms and will place an age restriction on similar content. Additionally, tutorials showing how to remove firearm safety devices will be prohibited, irrespective of the viewer’s age. The company further stated that the ban on using real firearms will not apply to video games, film clips, or other artistic content.

YouTube’s spokesperson Javier Hernandez mentioned that these adjustments take into account the increasing availability of 3D printing which has led to the expansion of restrictions on homemade firearms content. The decision was based on a study conducted by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) that revealed YouTube was recommending gun-related content to underage accounts. The policy update was lauded by TTP but they emphasized that the real test would be in how stringently YouTube enforces the changes. They also questioned why it took the company so long to address the issue. Today, the real proof of change is whether the company staying true to their policies.

TF Summary: What’s Next

The policy change is YouTube’s reaction to the Tech Transparency Project report that unveiled the platform’s recommendation of gun-related content to “child” accounts. This update also acknowledges society’s misuse of such videos. It should be assumed that the enforcement of these new policies will have an impact on the younger generation, given that firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. Hence, the significance of this change cannot be overstated.

The fact that they’ve come up with specific measures to address the issue is great. However, the ultimate evaluation of the new policy lies within how rigidly these rules will be put into practice. Time will reveal the effectiveness of these policies and whether or not they are helping to filter out inappropriate content for minors. As such, it is of paramount importance that YouTube keeps its word and follows through on these changes.

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By Li Nguyen “TF Emerging Tech”
Liam ‘Li’ Nguyen is a persona characterized by his deep involvement in the world of emerging technologies and entrepreneurship. With a Master's degree in Computer Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence, Li transitioned from academia to the entrepreneurial world. He co-founded a startup focused on IoT solutions, where he gained invaluable experience in navigating the tech startup ecosystem. His passion lies in exploring and demystifying the latest trends in AI, blockchain, and IoT
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