YouTube has responded to the discovery that comments sections on videos have been found to contain openly shared child pornography.
It has also taken steps to deal with the alleged actions of a soft-core pedophile ring who exploit certain clips containing children.
As tweeted by YouTube creator Philip DeFranco, the company posted a note to all YouTube Creators saying that it has disabled comments on "tens of thousands" of videos and terminated 400 suspected channels in the last 48 hours.
Law enforcement has been notified of illegal comments and work is continuing to isolate and delete or report any further instances.
UPDATE: @YouTube @YTCreators left a comment and provided an update on what they’ve done to combat horrible people on the site in the last 48 hours.— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) February 21, 2019
TLDR: Disabled comments on tens of millions of videos. Terminated over 400 channels. Reported illegal comments to law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/zFHFfkX9FD
Prior to the YouTube statement, Disney was one of several advertisers to pull commercials and funding from YouTube in light of the allegations.
Disney reportedly "withheld its spending" after YouTube creator Matt Watson (MattsWhatItIs) posted a video on 17 February to show how child predators use videos of kids to sexually exploit them. It was claimed that YouTube’s algorithms allowed pedophiles to post sexual comments or timestamps on kids' videos to identify parts where they can be seen in compromising positions.
The videos themselves are not pornographic, but pedophiles have been using a loophole to sexually exploit kids or trade child porn in the comments. Watson's video went viral and generated a huge discussion on Reddit, prompting YouTube to respond.
It also told Variety, "Any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent, and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube."
In the wake of Watson's video, Fortnite developer Epic Games, Nestle, and others have removed their ads from the platform. Additional concerned companies, including Peloton, asked YouTube to look into the matter further.
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