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Over the weekend, a YouTube video highlighting child predators’ rampant use of the platform had gone viral. YouTuber Matt Watson posted the video walking users through how a simple YouTube search can easily uncover “soft” pedophilia rings on the video service.
Child exploitation is clearly an internet-wide issue, however, Watson’s video explored how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm works to add a unique problem for the site. As shown in Watson’s viral upload, a search for popular YouTube video niches, such as “bikini haul,” leads the platform to recommend similar content to viewers. If a user clicks on a single recommended video featuring a child, the viewer can get sucked into a “wormhole,” as Watson calls it, where YouTube’s recommendation algorithm will proceed to push content to the viewer which strictly features children.
These recommended videos then become inundated with comments from child predators. Often times, these comments directly hyperlink timecodes from within the video. The linked timecodes often forwards a user to a point in the video where the minor may, innocently, be found in compromising positions. On these video pages, these commenters also share their contacts so that they can trade child pornography with other users off of YouTube’s platform.
On top of all of this, Watson pointed out that many of these videos were monetized. Basically, big brands’ advertisements were appearing right next to these comments.
The video quickly went viral on Reddit and viewers quickly started spreading the hashtag #YouTubeWakeUp across social media, urging the company to take action.
While many popular creators covered the issue, PhillyD received a comment from the official YouTube channel after he posted his video:
“We appreciate you raising awareness of this with your fans, and that you realize all of us at YouTube are working incredibly hard to root out horrible behavior on our platform,” said YouTube in their comment.
“In the last 48 hours, beyond our normal protections we’ve disabled comments on tens of millions of videos,” the statement continued. “We’ve also terminated over 400 channels for the comments they left on videos, and reported illegal comments to law enforcement.”
This isn’t the first time YouTube has been accused of having child exploitation issues. In 2017, a slew of problematic videos were found on the platform, specifically marketed to children — often times directly on the YouTube Kids app. These videos presented popular children’s characters with adult themes, sometimes in sexually explicit fashion.
originally posted by: neo96
Youtube should change it's name to YouPedo.
Meanwhile unwelcome political opinions are being censored elsewhere.
Life lesson though: Parents need to be monitoring content, not shoving their kid in a corner with a tablet to get a moment of silence.