YouTube faces advertising backlash over child videos
Internet giant Google’s market-leading video hosting site YouTube faced criticism last week over an alleged “soft core peadophillia ring” operating on its platform. Despite the hyperbolic language, YouTube isn’t hosting any actual child pornography. Rather, comments are being used to identify videos that could be construed as sexually suggestive which feature minors (such as children posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics). Once a user is watching videos like this, YouTube will automatically suggest more of the same. This, a video blogger argued last Sunday, allows child predators to effectively “game the system”. A number of high-profile companies have suspended their advertising on the platform as a response.
Watch the expose below:
Video blogger Matt Watson uploaded the video above on the Sunday before last. By Wednesday, it had been viewed more than 1.7 million times, and major advertisers like Nestle ere vowing to suspend their advertising accounts until the problem was fixed.
A YouTube spokeswoman said: “Any content --including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments.”
Advertising spend on the videos mentioned came in at less than $8,000 over the last 60 days. So the extent of the problem from advertisers perspective is minor – if you’re buying adverts on YouTube, they’re probably not featuring alongside this content. It also means that the financial loss YouTube stands to suffer when this content is removed is minimal.
Despite the rapid adoption of this story by media outlets online, a number of people are voicing concerns over Mr. Watson’s motives and character. YouTuber Keemstar from channel DramaAlert has uploaded an expose of Watson that sees him described as a “fraud” and a “creep”. The video has been watched by more than 1.3 million people so far (as of Friday), and you can see it below – start at the 6 minute 20 second mark if you just want to focus on Watson’s past.
A popular response from a successful YouTuber
We’ll keep you updated as the story progresses.
Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google (and YouTube) in its Global Trends Managed Fund.
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