AT&T pulls all ads from YouTube over paedophilia controversy

AT&T pulls all ads from YouTube over paedophilia controversy

AT&T pulls all ads from YouTube over paedophilia controversy

The YouTube spokesperson told CNN Business the company reviewed and removed thousands of inappropriate comments, terminated over 400 channels, and removed dozens of videos during the past 48 hours. "I can find this wormhole from a fresh YouTube account via innocuous videos within about five clicks", he added.

"Youtube's recommended algorithm is facilitating pedophiles' ability to connect with each other, trade contact info, and link to actual child pornography in the comments", Watson wrote on Reddit.

He explained the videos themselves were not sexual, but that commentators had flagged moments when girls appeared in compromising positions - such as performing gymnastics or posing in front of a mirror.

AT&T (T) has joined the ranks of companies to pull its ads from YouTube amid reports of alleged pedophile activity on the site.

As online anger built over the issue raised by Watson, YouTube "took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors", said a spokesperson for the video platform.

The outreach came after companies such as AT&T Inc., Kellogg Co., Nestle SA and Walt Disney Co., as well as several smaller brands, paused their YouTube advertising over the controversy.

This comes as a response to an ongoing campaign which looks to bring attention to the videos used by predators to exploit children.

David Brancaccio: This isn't the first time advertisers have pulled back from YouTube?

"In April 2018 YouTube was criticized for allowing a pornographic ad to appear on a trending YouTube video, and in November 2017 it was revealed that YouTube's flagging system to prevent child victimization on its platform was reportedly malfunctioning for a year". YouTube said at the time that it would take a more "aggressive stance" on curbing abusive posts by turning off the commenting feature when it detected such posts.

YouTube on Tuesday released an updated policy about how it will handle content that "crosses the line" of appropriateness. YouTube has likewise been detailing comments and accounts to law authorization, which it needs to do in compliance with federal law. Google doesn't break out the video site's advertising revenue, though BMO Capital Markets analysts estimated YouTube's sales at US$16.2 billion in 2018.

Late last week, Redditor Matt Watson highlighted how YouTube's recommendation algorithm redirected to inappropriate videos, featuring women and in some instances, exploitative clips of children.

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