Saturday, 23 March, 2019

YouTube axes more than 400 channels over child exploitation controversy

Epic Games pulls Fortnite ads from You Tube following exploitation accusations By Amanda Zelauskas Epic Games pulls Fortnite ads from You Tube following exploitation accusations By Amanda Zelauskas
Lloyd Bates | 26 February, 2019, 01:46

A YouTube representative said it swiftly took action to remove those comments and cancel those channels that appeared to harbor such content.

As you're probably aware, YouTube uses opaque algorithms to determine what sort of videos show up in the recommendation bar. Some videos also features inappropriate comments by pedophiles with timestamps that indicated children in compromising positions in videos. YouTube admits there is more it can do to catch abuse, and in a more timely manner.

The decision by YouTube was spurred by major advertisers, such as Disney and Nestle, pulling advertising from the platform.

"Advertisers count on Google to monitor offensive material on YouTube and rely on them to get offensive content off as soon as it is discovered", said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

"Any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube", A YouTube spokesperson told Newsweek about the original Watson video.

Epic Games has pulled all pre-roll ads off YouTube after Fortnite ads were found to be playing ahead of videos used to exploit minors.

Some of the videos appeared alongside advertising from companies such as Disney and Nestle, Mr Watson said.

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The video, from Matt Watson, exhibited how searching terms like "bikini haul", which highlights women modeling diverse bathing suits they've bought, can prompt videos of children that include predatory messages in the comment sections.

Epic Games, the maker of the Fortnite video game, also said it had halted ads on the platform. YouTube says it has to think about user privacy before opening to third parties that could poke around its platform.

While numerous individuals are criticizing YouTube, different creators have come out in defense of the team.

YouTube told Ars that it has taken action against users violating its policies this week, including by terminating more than 400 channels, deleting accounts, and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos.

The furor over the child videos is a fresh blow to YouTube's reputation for policing sensitive content.

"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. In response, YouTube has now removed large groups of accounts and their related activity, and has vowed to strengthen its detection tools on this front.

YouTube has faced advertiser boycotts in the past, including a widespread boycott in early 2017.

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