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YouTube offers identity protection with face blurring tool

YouTube has unveiled a new feature that will allow users to blur faces within videos.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old's basketball game without broadcasting the children's faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," YouTube said in a blog post.

To take advantage of this feature, select the video you'd like to edit within YouTube's Video Enhancement tool, go to Additional Features, and click the 'Apply' button below the Blur All Faces option. You can preview the video before publishing and once you do, there will be the option to delete the non-blurred, original copy of the video from your YouTube account.

YouTube stressed that the technology is "emerging" and might not be 100 per cent accurate.

"It's possible that certain faces or frames will not be blurred," YouTube said. "If you are not satisfied with the accuracy of the blurring as you see it in the preview, you may wish to keep your video private."

The move comes shortly after the Pew Research Center released a report that said YouTube users are consuming more and more news-related videos on the Google-owned site. Natural disasters and political upheavals were the most popular news video topics.

YouTube said it was proud to be a top news destination but acknowledged that "this level of exposure can be risky to the citizens shooting the footage and the people who appear in their videos," prompting the face blurring.

"Over the past seven years, YouTube has evolved into a destination for citizen reporting," the company said. "Along with curating projects like the Human Rights Channel and CitizenTube, we hope that the new technologies we're rolling out will facilitate the sharing of even more stories on our platform."

Google currently uses blurring technology to obscure faces and license plate numbers on its Street View mapping service.