Companies pull adverts from YouTube after 'paedophile ring' exposed

Anna Jefferson
February 26, 2019

It told Variety that "any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent, and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube".

The Nestle spokesperson expressed optimism that YouTube would be able to tackle the problems quickly, noting that the inappropriate content affected "an extremely low volume" of the company's ads.

After months of concerns around questionable content linked to YouTube channels aimed at kids, the platform has this week announced a new crackdown, removing more than 400 channels and their related comments after new examples highlighted potential pedophile activity within the app.

To access the "wormhole", Watson first searched for "bikini haul" and then clicked on recommended videos in YouTube's "Up next" section. We reported the other day on a situation where Pokémon Go YouTube accounts were reinstated after "mistakenly" being banned for supposed child abuse.

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Epic aren't the only company to pull advertisements from YouTube either over the incident, with Nestlé and Disney reportedly having suspended running adverts on the site.

"Advertisers in the past have threatened to pull YouTube ads over "terrorism and hateful content" and anti-Semitic imagery".

A YouTube spokesperson has confirmed the numbers in an email statement.

Epic Games, the maker of the Fortnite video game, also said it had halted ads on the platform. A report from the Times of London in December found that YouTube was failing to remove flagged instances of child exploitation on livestreaming videos in a timely matter.

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YouTube has promised the companies involved that they will refund all ad spend that appeared on the videos and channels affected by this decision, which amounted to less than $8,000 in total.

YouTube did not comment on advertisers suspending their spending.

Similarly, one of the reasons "Fortnite" rose to popularity was because of its reach on YouTube, especially among younger generations, Marketing Dive reported.

Since the latest controversy, YouTube said that it has been hiring more experts dedicated to child safety on the platform, and to identifying users who wish to harm children.

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The responses follow a YouTube video posted Sunday by Matt Watson that outlined in detail the disturbing ways that apparent pedophiles swap information on videos of minors and especially young girls. Once you encounter one video carrying the pedophilia-related comments, YouTube will suggest more videos that carry the same illegal comments, according to Watson.

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