Big brands are pulling their ads from YouTube after investigations revealed they were being shown alongside videos of scantily clad children.
YouTube videos of young children in their underwear have attracted a flood of pedophilic comments, and feature advertisements for companies like Adidas, Deutsche Bank, eBay, Amazon, and Mars, both BBC and the British Times newspaper reported Friday.
The Google-owned platform is host to millions of user-generated videos. The Times said many of the videos with troubling comments appear to have been uploaded by children themselves.
Had previously announced stricter rules
YouTube’s algorithm then suggests related videos, such as toddlers taking a bath. The Times investigation revealed a host of pedophilic comments on the videos, some of which included links to child abuse.
Spirits maker Diageo said it had halted all its YouTube advertising until appropriate safeguards for children had been put in place, according to Reuters. Mars, Deutsche Bank, and Adidas have also followed suit, according to The Guardian.
Earlier last week, the platform announced it was tightening rules around kid-related content, including questionable cartoons targeting children, stricter controls around videos showing child endangerment, and more patrolling of inappropriate comments on videos that feature kids.
But the BBC investigation revealed flaws in the company’s system meant to allow the public to report abuse.
And dozens of users showed YouTube’s autofill for search queries revealed pedophilic entries, such “how to have s*x with your kids,” BuzzFeed News reported Sunday.
YouTube told Vice News on Monday that over the past week, it had:
- terminated more than 270 accounts
- removed over 150,000 videos
- turned off comments on over 625,000 videos targeted by child predators
- removed ads from nearly 2 million videos and over 50,000 channels masquerading as family-friendly content.
“Content that endangers children is abhorrent and unacceptable to us,” it said in a statement.
Previous backlash from advertisers
This is not the first time advertisers have distanced themselves from YouTube. In March, more than 250 companies either scaled back or completely removed their ads when the Times reported they were being shown on videos of religious extremists.
Google confirmed earlier this month that it had been removing extremist videos from its platform, according to Reuters.
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