An investigation by the BBC has revealed that up to 100,000 predatory accounts are leaving sexualised comments on videos aimed at children, while the Times reports that advertising from major brands was shown alongside content featuring sexualised children.
The BBC quote volunteer moderators who claim YouTube’s system for reporting such content has been broken for over a year; YouTube claim the “vast majority” of these complaints are dealt with within 24 hours.
In light of these twins investigations, massive advertisers such as Adidas, Deutsche Bank, Mars, Cadburys and Lidl have pulled their commercials, as the company releases their new protection measures, in the form of a fun listicle about child predators.
The Times headline — YouTube adverts fund paedophile habits — was enough to scare advertisers, and that scares YouTube.
“There shouldn’t be any ads running on this content and we are working urgently to fix this. Over the past year, we have been working to ensure that YouTube is a safe place for brands. While we have made significant changes in product, policy, enforcement and controls, we will continue to improve.”
Of course, “this content” shouldn’t be running on YouTube at all. This problem is larger than a faulty algorithm and lost advertising revenue.