Many of the world’s biggest companies are pulling their advertising from YouTube in response to a scandal involving a paedophilia community congregating in plain sight in the comments of videos posted on the popular website.
According to The Independent, the developers of Fortnite, Disney and other major companies are horrified over the way videos of children are being used.
Seemingly innocent videos of children, dancing or taking part in gymnastics, for instance, are being shared as sexually suggestive posts.
The videos are extremely typical content, like parents sharing sweet moments or adorable clips of their precocious children, or funny content created and geared towards other children.
The comments from the troubled users link the posts together to encourage the site’s algorithms to suggest more videos of similar content, without having to explicitly label the videos in any way.
The blogger who discovered this phenomenon Matt Watson known as “MattsWhatitis,” described it as a “soft-core pedophilia ring” that appeared to be operating relatively openly, through the use of hidden methods.
Watson’s video described in detail how YouTube’s comment section and recommended video feature is allowing people to find and use completely innocent made videos for sexually suggestive and erotic purposes.
Some of the videos have garnered so many views that they are potentially putting children at risk.
YouTube has called the abuse of their content “abhorrent” and said that they have policies to stop such abuse of their platform. The company has been deleting comments and any channels directly associated with them.
In 2017, YouTube faced a loss of advertisers after companies pulled out because videos were being paired with extremist, violent and racist content.
Many companies have returned since that incident, as Google had committed to cracking down on those types of videos and content.
But now, parents and content providers are urged to be careful to consider the dark side of the web.
Be wary of overexposing children when posting online. Anything posted featuring children can be potentially misused.