Advertisers flee YouTube yet again as Google scrambles to cull disturbing content targeting children on the platform

The good part about this is that YouTube is aware of the problem and it is actively trying to fight this type of content and revamped its guidelines.

YouTube may be facing another 'adpocalypse' as major players like Hewlett-Packard, Mars, Adidas and other high profile brands have paused advertising on YouTube. For the uninitiated, the first adpocalypse started when advertisers started pulling ads from the platform when they realised that their advertisements were paired with offensive content on YouTube.

Advertisers flee YouTube yet again as Google scrambles to cull disturbing content targeting children on the platform

Image: YouTube Kids

However, the reason for this pause is not for the same reason that caused the original adpocalypse. The reason for this pause is that some advertisements were shown alongside disturbing content targeting children on YouTube. This content includes videos bordering on soft porn, wierd fetishes and more.

According to a detailed report by Vice News, Google stated that it removed advertisements from about ‘2 million videos and over 50,000 channels.’ The good part about this is that YouTube is aware of the problem and it is actively trying to fight this type of content and has revamped its guidelines. As reported previously, the company terminated more than 270 YouTube accounts and removed more than 1,50,000 offensive videos targeting children in just one week.

The company also turned off comments on more than 6,25,000 videos.  The report also points out that volunteer moderators informed the BBC that the tools used to screen such comments have not been working properly, which has allowed somewhere between 50,000 and 1,00,000 ‘predatory’ accounts to remain active on the platform.

The report highlights the fact that the cause of this problem lies beyond the confines of YouTube as platforms like Amazon and Facebook allow billions of users to sell products or post live broadcasts without any oversight on the type of the content that they are posting. Another problem is the fact that the screening solutions and the ways to monitor the massive inflow of content are not perfect. Vice claims that the reason that the problem with YouTube has been highlighted is that a lot of parents consider YouTube to be an acceptable source of knowledge and information for their children.

A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration - RC1BFC9572B0

A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. Image: Reuters

Vice also points out that YouTube works as the "perfect babysitter." More and more people are jumping to the kid's section of YouTube to create ‘algorithmically’ generated videos with keywords like ‘Elsa’ or ‘Spider-Man’ to target the advertising revenue with content that's clearly unsuited for kids. One of the most prominent examples of this trend is the ‘Toy Freak’ channel which was one of the 100-most-viewed YouTube channels with over 8.5 million subscribers. The platform terminated the channel in mid-November after reports highlighting inappropriate content, which included videos of children in pain and some with children throwing up.

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