Google’s YouTube is facing a crisis, as several major YouTube advertising brands found out their ads were being displayed on Video’s featuring kids in state of undress and other compromising situations. These videos were loaded with comments from pedophiles. Big brands like HP, Mars, Deutsche Bank, Smirnoff’s owner Diageo and German retailer Lidl have vowed to not come back until there are ‘appropriate safeguards’ applied by YouTube.
Deutsche Bank said it suspended advertising on YouTube immediately after becoming aware of the problem. “As always, our digital marketing agency applied filters to prevent our advertising appearing alongside inappropriate content, and we are investigating how the situation arose,” the banking company said in a statement.
The videos became news last week in a BuzzFeed report that described a “vast, disturbing and wildly popular universe of videos” which included live-action footage of children illustrated in threatening situations in bedclothes. In response to this news YouTube took down many such videos and announced that it would impose community guidelines more strictly.
However, after this incident the Times of London reported that major brand advertisements were featuring these videos and that they had “attracted comments from hundreds of pedophiles”.
In response to the report, YouTube said, “There shouldn’t be any ads running on this content, and we are working urgently to fix this.”
In a blog post Wednesday, YouTube VP of product management Johanna Wright outlined five steps the video platform is taking to “protect families on YouTube and YouTube Kids.” The steps include, better enforcement of policies, blocking comments on videos featuring minors, and removing ads from videos with kid-inappropriate content.
In accordance to these kid-safe guidelines, last week YouTube has terminated more than 50 channels and removed thousands of videos.
“Across the board, we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies,” Wright said. “These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge. We’re wholly committed to addressing these issues and will continue to invest the engineering and human resources needed to get it right.”
While social media has provided a platform through Facebook and Twitter to voice opinions encouraging freedom of speech, it is a disturbing revelation to see these platforms being used for harassment, trolling, and fringe content.