YouTube has a big problem with predators targeting children on its site, and it's taking action, removing videos or disabling comments.
So far, YouTube has already pulled more than 150,000 videos over predatory comments, and it disabled the comments for more than 625,000 videos. At the same time, it also closed several hundred accounts behind inappropriate comments, and it took down ads from roughly 2 million videos and more than 50,000 channels.
Pedophiles On YouTube?
The issue with disturbing child content on YouTube seems to be gaining proportions. The videos in question had inappropriate content targeting kids, most of it consisting of predatory comments. Nevertheless, some videos also showed exploited children.
Such videos depicted children in distress, skimpy clothing, or abusive situations and raked in tens of millions of views on YouTube. The content often had titles designed to make it seem like the video was family friendly in order to bypass YouTube's filters.
YouTube is actively trying to keep disturbing things off its platform, but the fact that all of these now-removed videos, channels, and comments were on the platform so far indicates that the problem is bigger than initially thought.
YouTube's Problem With Predators
Just the other day, YouTube launched an investigation into inappropriate YouTube autocomplete that yielded child sex suggestions. YouTube also announced last week that it was toughening its approach to keep inappropriate content off YouTube, including nasty videos or comments on videos featuring minors.
"We have historically used a combination of automated systems and human flagging and review to remove inappropriate sexual or predatory comments on videos featuring minors," YouTube said on Nov. 22. "Comments of this nature are abhorrent and we work with NCMEC to report illegal behavior to law enforcement. Starting this week we will begin taking an even more aggressive stance by turning off all comments on videos of minors where we see these types of comments."
Better Late Than Never
The tougher measures and the crackdown on disturbing content is undoubtedly necessary and urgent, but it also comes quite late. A number of big-brand advertisers such as Adidas, Lidl, Mars, and others have already removed their ads from the platform specifically over disturbing content targeted at children, and now YouTube had to remove more ads itself.
While the move is welcome, it would be preferable to find a more effective way to keep such abusive content off the platform in the first place, not after it makes waves in the media. A stricter enforcement of policies, however, should help lower the chances of this alarming trend from expanding further.