YouTube Axes Tens of Millions of Comments in Crackdown on Child Sexual Exploitation

A video blogger this week published an overview on YouTube documenting how recommendations and opinions about the platform direct users to potentially sexual videos of children, allowing them to take part in a”soft-core paedophile ring,” according to the report. YouTube also terminated over 400 channels on Thursday that published the comments on videos featuring kids.

Several major brands like Disney and Nestle this week stopped their advertising on YouTube because their advertisements were performed alongside videos with violent or sexually explicit comments – a repeat of a new boycott a few years ago when advertisers whined the placement of the spots in videos that were inappropriate.

YouTube’s most up-to-date controversy concentrates on the abusive part of its comments section.

“Any content – including remarks – which endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube,” said YouTube spokeswoman Andrea Faville at a statement Thursday. “We took immediate actions by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to police and disabling comments on tens of thousands of millions of movies that have minors. There is more to be achieved, and we continue to work to enhance and grab abuse faster.”

In a movie that’s been viewed almost two million times since its release Sunday, video writer Matt Watson comprehensive how consumers that see YouTube for bikini purchasing videos can eventually be nudged to watch movies featuring young women. After clicking on several bikini movies, YouTube’s recommendation motor suggests that users watch videos with minors, Watson stated. The movies are not sexual in nature – they involve kids talking to the camera, doing gymnastics or playing with toys, but they’re translated by users in improper ways. The comments on the movies include hyperlinked period stamps, Watson said, enabling users to jump to moments once the women are in compromised positions; in other cases, users posted sexually explicit remarks about the kids.

“Once you are in this loophole there is nothing but more videos of little women,” he explained in the movie.

YouTube also stated it removed dozens of videos that were posted without malicious intention but were nonetheless putting children at risk. The company added it continues to invest in technology which allows it and its business partners to discover and remove sexually abusive imagery.

In a business blog article by 2017, YouTube outlined the ways it had been”toughening” its approach to guard families on its own platform. One aspect of its strategy was blocking inappropriate comments on movies featuring minors. The company said it had used a combination of automated systems and of individuals flagging improper and predatory comments for review and elimination. YouTube said at the time it would take a more”aggressive stance” on curbing abusive posts by turning off the commenting feature when it detected these articles. It’s technically easier for software to scan text, like comments, instead of video for whatever would violate YouTube’s policies.

In the wake of the latest controversy, YouTube reported it has been hiring more experts dedicated to child safety on the platform, and to identifying users who wish to harm kids.

YouTube has previously grappled with publishing exploitative videos of children. In 2017, the company cracked down accounts that posted disturbing videos for young audiences that featured kids in predatory or compromising situations which attracted enormous audiences.

“YouTube, in addition to other social media platforms should offer regular, independent, outside audits of internet hate and harassment,” said George Selim, the senior vice president of the Anti-Defamation League.

Watson said that a number of those YouTube videos feature ads for big name companies, such as Disney.

Nestle said,”A very low quantity of some of our ads were revealed on movies on YouTube where improper remarks were being made,” adding that it’s investigating the matter with YouTube and its partners and has determined to pause its advertising onto the stage globally.

Disney has also suspended its advertisements on the YouTube, according to Bloomberg.

Fortnite maker Epic Games said it has”paused” its advertising on YouTube that runs prior to movies, but it is unclear if Epic’s advertisements appeared at the controversial content. “During our marketing agency, we’ve achieved to Google/YouTube to ascertain activities they will take to remove this kind of content out of their service,” Epic said in a statement.