Published: Sat, November 25, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Top brands pull ads from YouTube over paedophile concerns

Top brands pull ads from YouTube over paedophile concerns

Johanna Wright, YouTube's VP for product management, made the announcement, on the back of a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not.

The presence of those infringing videos, which are aimed at kids, created to excel in YouTube's recommendation algorithm, and populated with popular family characters like Elsa and Spiderman, has triggered a controversy called ElsaGate. Since it started this policy in June, the company has removed ads from 3 million videos and further strengthened the application of that policy to remove ads from another 500K violative videos.

Recent reports have called attention to collections of videos sprinkled with profanity and violent themes on YouTube Kids, the video-sharing site's kid-friendly platform.

The Times investigation alleged that YouTube does not do enough to pro-actively check for inappropriate images of children and instead relies on software algorithms, external non-government groups and police forces to flag such content.

Other videos show adults placing children in disturbing, uncomfortable situations.

More than 50 YouTube Channels as well as "thousands" of videos have already been removed under the new stricter guidelines over the last week, the statement says, adding, that the video service continues "to work quickly to remove more every day".

A Mars spokesperson said in a comment to the news company: "We are shocked and appalled to see that our adverts have appeared alongside such exploitative and inappropriate content". The channel had 8 million subscribers before YouTube took it down last week.

Acknowledging the nuance that comes with moderating kid-friendly content, YouTube announced that they'll be doubling the number of their trusted flaggers to better understand how to handle "challenging" adult content that doesn't cater to children but might appeal to them.

BuzzFeed and the New York Times and an online essay by British writer James Bridle pointed out some clips shown on YouTube that were questionable.

YouTube has finally taken a step for controlling videos that are aimed at kids.

Moderators now are instructed to delete videos "featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader's intent", Wright said.

Tim Loughton, a Tory member of the home affairs select committee, told The Times: "Yet again it appears that YouTube's rhetoric about taking child safeguarding seriously nowhere matches its actions".

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