Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

YouTube cracking down on child endangerment videos

A 3D-printed You Tube icon is seen in front of a displayed You Tube logo in this illustration taken A 3D-printed You Tube icon is seen in front of a displayed You Tube logo in this illustration Thomson Reuters
Guillermo Lane | 25 November, 2017, 00:31

Some of them are extremely sexually explicit.

Investigators identified at least 28 comments that were deemed to obviously violate YouTube's guidelines, including phone numbers for adults and requests for videos to satisfy sexual fetishes.

The streaming video service removed more than 50 user channels in the last week and stopped running ads on over 3.5 million videos since June, YouTube vice president Johanna Wright wrote in a blog post. YouTube's algorithms would surface these videos next to harmless, child-friendly content. Among the videos, most of which looked to have been uploaded by the children themselves, was a clip of of a pre-teen girl in a nightgown that had 6.5 million views, the Times said.

Several big-name brands including food companies Mars (M&Ms, Snickers) and Mondelez (Oreos, Cadbury), Diageo (Guinness, Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker scotch whisky), and German retail chain Lidl pulled their advertising from YouTube upon learning their ads ran alongside the videos, The Times first reported.

The Google-owned company published a blog post on Wednesday detailing five ways they're addressing the problems.

"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.

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"In recent months, we've noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not", wrote Johanna Wright, YouTube's vice president of product management, in a blog post dated November 22. "As a parent and as a leader in this organisation, I'm determined that we do".

Similarly, New Jersey-based Mondelez said it was "deeply concerned" and had suspended its advertising on YouTube, too.

The channel was removed from the site after complaints the videos were disturbing, according to BuzzFeed News.

"We are shocked and appalled to see that our adverts have appeared alongside such exploitative and inappropriate content", said Mars in a statement. "Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube and Google".

YouTube has become one of Google's fastest-growing operations in terms of sales by simplifying the process of distributing video online but putting in place few limits on content. The firm has often shirked responsibility for this, in a manner similar to Facebook and Twitter, claiming that it can not police the content posted on their platforms.

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