The YouTube baker fighting back against deadly “craft hacks”

“The point is that anyone can literally watch these videos — kids, adults, it doesn’t matter,” she said. Matt first saw a fractal wood-burning video shared on Facebook by a friend and was so intrigued that “he started watching YouTube videos on it — and they were endless.”

Matt was electrocuted when a piece of sheath around the jumper cable he was using came loose and his palm touched metal. “I truly believe that if my husband were fully aware [of the dangers], he wouldn’t do it,” Schmidt said. Her plea is simple: “When you’re dealing with something that could potentially kill someone, there should always be a word of caution… YouTube needs to do better and I know that they do. can do, because they censor all kinds of people. ”

After Matt’s death, medical experts from the University of Wisconsin wrote a piece of paper titled “Surprised though hearts and YouTube are to blame.” Citing Matt’s death and four broken wood burns that they treated themselves, they claim that “a warning label must be attached before users can access video content” about the crafting technique. “While it is not possible or even desirable, to flag any video that depicts potentially risky activity,” they wrote, “a warning label for videos can result in immediate death upon arrest. looks realistic.”

Matt and Caitlin Schmidt have been best friends since the age of 12. He left behind three children. Schmidt says her family has endured “pain, loss and devastation” and will carry the pain for a lifetime. “We are a cautionary tale now,” she said, “and I wish everything in my life hadn’t been.”

YouTube told MIT Technology Review its community guidelines prohibit content that promotes dangerous activities or poses a risk of bodily harm. Warnings and age restrictions apply to graphic videos and a combination of technology and employees enforce company guidelines. Dangerous videos banned by YouTube include challenges that pose a risk of injury, mental distress jokes, drug use, glorification of violent tragedies, and instructions on how to kill or harm. However, videos can depict dangerous behaviors if they have enough educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context.

YouTube Introduced for the first time ban on dangerous challenges and pranks in January 2019 — a day after a blindfolded teenager crashed a car while participating in the so-called “Bird box challenge. ”

YouTube removed “some” fractal wood-burning videos and age-restricted videos when approached by MIT Technology Review. But the company did not say why it controls to fight pranks and challenges but not hacks.

It would certainly be difficult to do so — each 5-minute Crafts video contains a variety of crafts, video after video, many of which are simply bizarre but not harmful. And the ambiguity in hack videos — an ambiguity not found in challenge videos — can be difficult for human moderators to judge, let alone AI. In September 2020YouTube reinstated human moderators who were “putted offline” during the pandemic after determining that their AI was overactive, doubling the number of incorrect takedowns over a period of time. from April to June.

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