YouTube is once again bleeding advertisers in light of inappropriate comments on children’s content
This year hasn’t been the smoothest for Google-owned YouTube. In March, it was noticed that YouTube videos centered around racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic views were running ads from brands like Coca-Cola, Amazon.com, and Microsoft. This didn’t sit well with advertisers and in response many of them left including PepsiCo, Walmart, Dish, Starbucks, and GM. Google put several actions into play in hopes of fixing this issue including “increasing use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos,” and an “increase in the number of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger programme.” But the amount of videos uploaded to the site — 300 hours every minute — proved too much for the company to accurately organize, and while some videos slipped through the cracks, others were wrongly flagged. This led to many creators being unrightfully stripped of their ability to monetize content.
After a few months, though the problem was not completely solved, the attention surrounding the issue slowly died down, until recently. Once again, several major advertisers froze spending on YouTube after an investigation revealed their ads were running against videos featuring kids in states of undress and other disturbing situations that had drawn comments from pedophiles. Adidas, Deutsche Bank, Mars, HP, Diageo, Cadbury and Lidl were among those who pulled ads from the platform over the issue, according to a report by the Times of London.
While the videos appeared to be uploaded by children themselves, the comment sections were filled with sexual remarks including statements encouraging the children to perform sexual acts on camera. YouTube’s official policy states that posting such content will immediately “result in an account termination,” however, one video showing a little girl in a nightgown racked up more than 6.5 million views and a number of lewd and sexual comments, according to the Times of London.
In response, YouTube said, it has terminated more than 50 channels and have removed thousands of videos under its new kid-safe guidelines which it outlined in a blog post titled “5 ways we’re toughening our approach to protect families on YouTube and YouTube Kids.”
The blog post is reminiscent of YouTube’s statement in March, after the first swarm of advertisers left the platform, and to the statement released in June, when the United Kingdom’s major political parties pulled their commercials from YouTube after they appeared with videos that promoted extremist ideology.
Next week Google will meet with British marketing execs after the U.K.’s ISBA advertising trade group called for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, the Times reported.