Advertisers leave YouTube amid video reports that sexualize children



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Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Photo: Bloomua / Shutterstock


Several large companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.


Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads are shown on videos that seem to badualize children.

Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, AFP, Getty Images


Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Photo: Mike Kemp


Several large companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

Photo: Getty Images / File Photo

Advertisers leave YouTube in the middle of video reports that badualize children


Several major companies suspended their advertising campaigns on YouTube on Friday after learning that their ads were shown on videos that seemed to badualize children.

When distanced from YouTube, the companies mentioned the apparent inability of the service to monitor its content so that its ads do not appear in offensive videos. The companies included Deutsche Bank, the German supermarket chain Lidl, the sportswear company Adidas, the candy makers Mars and Cadbury, and the alcohol company Diageo, which produces Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Crown Royal whiskey.

The suspension was in response to an article published in the Times of London last week, which said that company ads appeared on videos showing children in various states of undress, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some of these videos, for example, featured "young girls filming in underwear, making fractures, brushing their teeth or rolling in bed," according to the London Times.

While some of the videos seemed loaded by the children themselves, the comments sections were full of badual comments, including statements encouraging children to perform badual acts in front of the camera.

RELATED VIDEO: YouTube represses videos showing child danger

A representative of Mars told Business Insider the company was "shocked and horrified" that its advertising appeared with "exploitative and inappropriate content". Also, a spokesperson for Lidl told Reuters that the content is "completely unacceptable" and that YouTube's policies were "ineffective".

The video service, owned by Google, says it prohibits videos or comments that badualize children. Its official policy states that publishing that content "will immediately result in the end of the account." However, a video showing a prepubert in a nightgown has accumulated more than 6.5 million visits and a series of lewd and badual comments, the Times reported. The ads of several large brands were published with this video.

"There should not be any advertising in this content and we are working urgently to solve it," a YouTube spokesperson said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Johanna Wright, vice president of product management at YouTube, said in a statement that the company will adopt an "even more aggressive" stance against videos intended to badualize or harm minors.

But controlling the content and ensuring that advertising does not work with clips has been a long-term problem for the video service.

YouTube launched a similar statement in March, when several companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Walmart, Dish Network, Starbucks and General Motors stopped advertising after learning that their ads were running alongside videos with racist and anti-Semitic content .

YouTube also issued a statement in June, when the main political parties in the United Kingdom withdrew their commercia It is YouTube after they appeared with videos promoting "extremist ideology," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The problem faced by YouTube is twofold.

First, the overwhelming amount of content that is constantly being generated. Users see a billion hours of video every day on the site. The Guardian reported that 300 hours of video per minute are uploaded.

YouTube uses a combination of human and automated watchdogs to search for offensive content, but much of that content is often overlooked. There simply are not enough humans to monitor so much video, and many claim that the protection algorithms in place often do not work.

"They work by correlating patterns within content, such as the use of a combination of words or particular image elements that human content moderators previously identified as benign violations of the content policies of the platform," Ansred Koene told Wired , principal investigator of the Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Nottingham. "The algorithms are, therefore, unable to detect new types of violations."

The second problem is how the ads are disseminated. Companies have three options when placing their ads, according to the Wall Street Journal. They can be linked to a specific type of content, a particular set of keywords or a certain demographic profile. YouTube then automatically plays the ads with the corresponding videos.

But these categories can be deceptive. The videos of young girls who attracted badualized comments were not, in their face, badual. Therefore, if a company requested your advertising with family-friendly content, for example, there is a good chance that you will have finished one of these videos.

"We have to accept that under the current model of rapid and instantaneous publishing, the content moderation will never be completely perfect," Koene told Wired. "If we really want to block all content that violates the rules of the platform, then we would have to move to a model where users of the platform send the content they want to publish to an editor for approval, as we do when publishing in magazines. it would transform current Web 2.0 platforms into traditional media channels. "


Travis M. Andrews is a Washington Post writer.

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