Netflix classifies content by age thanks to a new algorithm

In association with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Netflix now classifies content by age in the United Kingdom. While some of those ratings were pre-existing, many come from an entirely new algorithm.

How does Netflix classify content by age?

As reported by the BBC, everything in the British version of Netflix now comes with an age rating thanks to a partnership with BBFC.

The BBFC It was founded in 1912 and is the leading organization that classifies films released physically and theatrically in the UK.

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While digital streaming services are not required to have content rated by BBFC, Netflix has voluntarily chosen to do so.

Netflix employees saw everything on the service and tagged scenes inappropriate for young children: ***, violence, swearing, etc.

Then all this data was fed into an algorithm. This can now be used to detect those types of scenes in new content and automatically assign an age rating.

Putting everything in the hands of an algorithm will never be perfect, especially when the data has been entered by humans in the first place. However, the monumental task of having age ratings on over 10,000 pieces content can only be applauded.

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What are the benefits of age ratings?

In a statement, Netflix’s Director of Ratings and Compliance Policy Jessica Stansfield said:

We wanted our members to see the same trusted age ratings on our service that they recognize on film and DVD, to simplify the process of choosing content, regardless of how they view it.

The goal is to allow parents better control the content their children watch. According to the BBFC, their research shows that 85% of parents and 95% of teens want age ratings on streaming platforms.

The UK Minister for Culture and Digital praised the partnership, saying the move will help children avoid age-inappropriate content and other streaming services are urged to follow suit.

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In fact, the BBFC is currently in talks with 21 other streaming services and social networking sites to achieve something similar to what they have with Netflix. That list includes Sky Store, Curzon Home, and BFI Player.

Netflix currently only rates content by age in the UK using this algorithm. It could be expected to be implemented worldwide, including Spain, although each country uses a different age classification system.