In a video that has been viewed almost 2 million times since its release Sunday, video blogger Matt Watson detailed how users who visit YouTube for bikini shopping videos can eventually be nudged to watch videos featuring young girls. The videos aren't pornographic in nature, but they feature numerous comments with timestamps for the parts that "sexualise" the people in the video.
Pedophiles have also been making sexually explicit comments about the young children featured in the videos.
YouTube said it had removed some of the content, which violated its policies against child endangerment, nudity and other behavior it considers inappropriate.
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Additionally, the YouTube spokesperson said the company had reported illegal comments to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children so the organization could work with the appropriate authorities. "I can consistently get access to it from vanilla, never-before-used YouTube accounts via innocuous videos in less than ten minutes, in sometimes less than five clicks".
"Videos of children showing their exposed buttocks, underwear and genitals are racking up millions of views on YouTube-with the site displaying advertising from major cosmetics and vehicle brands alongside the content", Wired UK wrote. The videos are also being monetized by YouTube, including pre-roll adverts from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fortnite, Grammarly, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Metro: Exodus, Peloton and SingleMuslims.com.
"During a conference call with ad buyers on Wednesday, executives at Alphabet Inc.'s Google, YouTube's parent, sought to assuage concerns by explaining the steps the company has taken to address brand safety problems that have plagued the platform", the Wall Street Journal reported. As well as providing YouTube with our research, we contacted the advertisers to alert them to the issue. Many of these videos had ads connected to them as well and, in the examples shown, one was for Fortnite. After searching specific terms and clicking a few videos, his entire recommended section was filled with videos of children, and almost all of these videos had inappropriate comments beneath them. Numerous brands that boycotted YouTube, including Procter & Gamble and AT&T, have since returned to buying ads on the site.
YouTube derives most of its revenue from advertising, and it has been one of Google's fastest-growing units as consumers spend an increasing amount of time watching videos online.