Major brands and companies are pulling their advertising from YouTube this week after a video blogger detailed the not-so-hidden ways that comments on the video streaming platform are being used to facilitate a “soft-core pedophilia ring.”
As previously reported by For Every Mom, YouTube’s algorithm has what vlogger, Matt Watson, calls a “loophole,” which pedophiles have used to prey on children, swap information, and use as a launching pad for child porn and exploitation.
In a detailed 20 minute video posted last Sunday, Watson demonstrates in just two clicks, how YouTube’s recommended algorithm can suck him into the “wormhole” that is videos of little girls.
Comments on these videos include time stamps—pointing other pedophiles to spots in the video where young girls are in “compromising positions,” or “sexually implicit” positions—as well as a myriad of disgusting comments primarily from men.
As if that’s not enough, thanks to YouTube’s advertising platform and a glitch in the algorithm, the video streaming giant is MAKING MONEY off of these videos.
Watson’s video quickly went viral with over 2.4 million views since it was first posted Sunday, and has since drawn the attention of major brands who advertise with YouTube.
As of Wednesday, Walt Disney Co. was said to have pulled it’s advertising spending from YouTube, along with all Nestle companies in the U.S., after some of the videos involved were run next to ads placed and paid for by Disney and Nestle.
Video game maker Epic Games Inc. and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos.
It’s important to note that most of these videos are not inherently inappropriate. They’re normal videos of normal little girls doing things that they like to do, such as dancing, doing gymnastics, talking with friends, etc.
The videos have drawn concern, not because of their content, but because of the inappropriate and downright disgusting ways that pedophiles are using to identify young girls doing activities that could be construed in a sexual manner.
That being said, these big corporations have never been associated directly with the sexual exploitation of children (like Disney is not signing up to sponsor ads that show before a video of child pornography). But without knowledge of YouTube’s glitch in the algorithm, these major companies have, inadvertently, financially perpetuated the pedophilia ring that’s taking place under our noses.
“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,” a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.
YouTube released an updated policy Tuesday about how it will handle content that “crosses the line” of appropriateness.
Stay vigilant mamas. Educate yourself and stay in-the-know with what your kid and their friends are up to online.
Check out Matt Watson’s full video below. (Warning: the video does have some foul language as Matt is visibly emotional about what he’s finding).