A number of leading American companies have chosen boycott YouTube by cutting advertising ties, after evidence shows that the video streaming site is being used as a medium to facilitate the activities of a paedophilia ring.
Some of the companies who are pausing their advertising partnership with YouTube include the likes of Walt Disney Co., Epic Games Inc., and even August Oetker KG. A spokeswoman for Nestle SA also disclosed yesterday that it will be cutting ties with YouTube which is owned by Google.
What exactly happened?
According to Bloomberg, evidence emerged earlier this week that a group of “soft-core” paedophiles were using the platform to operate; targeting young girls.
A video blogger named Matt Watson had, on Sunday, shared a video explaining how tech experts used YouTube comments to identify some subtly controversial videos that depicted innocent young girls engaging in (otherwise) innocent activities that could be perceived as sexually suggestive; by paedophiles of course.
These activities ranged from girls innocently posing in front of mirrors, as well as girls participating in gymnastics.
According to Watson, YouTube’s algorithms typically recommends similar videos to anyone who clicks on them. What is problematic about this situation, therefore, is the fact that paedophiles are known to swarm the comment sections of such videos, leaving sexually suggestive comments about some parts of the video that could be compromising when paused.
The paedophiles also commented with countless sexually suggestive emojis and even went as far as asking if the girls were wearing underwears.
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How does this affect the boycotting companies?
The above-mentioned companies are deciding to pull their ads from YouTube because the controversial videos involving young girls, ran right next to ads placed by them. August Oetker KG, for instance, stated that the decision was reached to postpone their YouTube spending after the company’s ads were shown to play before the controversial videos.
YouTube has issued apologies
Following the boycott, YouTube quickly apologised to everyone affected and promised to refund all the ad money paid by the companies in the past sixty days.
“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.” – youtube spokeswoman
Meanwhile, this is not the first time companies have threatened to boycott YouTube. Just two years ago, more than a hundred companies temporarily cut ties with the company due to worries that the companies’ ads were showing next to controversial contents depicting terror.
Google bought the video-sharing/streaming site in 2006, a year after it was founded by three former Paypal employees.