New controversy for YouTube. Google’s video platform is being blamed for the proliferation of pedophile comments, prompting some advertisers -Lidl, Mars, Adidas or Deutsche Bank – to temporarily remove their ads. The American subsidiary had already lost advertisers last March , who saw their ads scroll by content that incites hatred or apologizing for terrorism.
Involved this time: videos of children putting themselves (or being) staged in everyday situations, such as gymnastics, unwittingly attracting comments of a sexual nature, highlights a survey published by the Times last Friday. Some of these predators comment very explicitly on the bodies of children, others publish links to pedophile content. In mid-November, the American site The Verge already denounced videos “infested” with pedophile comments.
“We are shocked and horrified to see our ads side by side with abusive and inappropriate content,” Mars said in a statement.
“We made the decision to immediately suspend all our online advertising on YouTube.”
YouTube promises more firmness
Beyond automated moderation, each user can manually report shocking videos. The complaint is then sent to the YouTube business moderators, who process the request by deleting (or not) the video or account. Problem: The reporting tool for inappropriate content would not have worked properly “for more than a year,” according to a BBC survey also released last Friday . The tool only allowed to send a partial complaint, making moderation difficult for YouTube.
“Any content that endangers children is odious and unacceptable to us, we have clear policies against videos and comments on YouTube that sexualize or exploit children, and we apply them drastically every time we are alerted to such content, “says LCI a spokesperson for YouTube France.
Last week, the platform said on its official blog will “strengthen” its rules to further protect the image of children. She notably promised to close the comments under the videos of minors as soon as the publication of messages of a sexual nature.