YouTuber Matt Watson revealed what he referred to as a “wormhole into a soft-core pedophilia ring” on the video streaming platform, in a video uploaded Sunday.
Watson’s video reported to expose a not-so-underground YouTube community of adults who entice very young kids to upload videos of themselves in compromising situations and positions, commonly in the form of “yoga challenges,” trampoline sessions, gymnastics moves or eating Popsicles.
These users, some of whom have usernames that brazenly reference pedophilia, leave both veiled and explicit sexual comments on the children’s videos, along with linked timestamps designed to direct other viewers to specially revealing moments within the video.
Watson states he has also located links to genuine child pornography being shared by way of the comments of the videos.
The exposed video illustrates that YouTube’s algorithm directs users to these videos with just a few clicks from unconnected, normal videos. Several of the videos in question were monetized, showing multiple ads from multiple companies, which includes McDonald’s, Disney, Grammarly, Chromebook, Purina, Ikea, Glad, GNC and Lysol.
Watson’s video caused the Twitter hashtag campaign #youtubewakeup, which gathered the focus of advertisers in less than 24 hours.
During a follow-up Monday live stream, where Watson recreated his algorithm demo, he found that one of the videos presented in his original report had been removed.
The exact same stream displayed a since-deleted tweet from YouTube’s Twitter account, admitting the problem and promising that the company was taking action.
Watson’s response to YouTube’s reaction and visible proof of action was hopeful, calling the acknowledgment a “small victory.”
“The battle is still ongoing. But what we have shown is that YouTube does have the power to remove these videos,” Watson stated. “This won’t necessarily go away, but we have shown that YouTube can and will do something about this when they have to,” he incorporated.
The public has long acknowledged child exploitation on YouTube, but so far the company has never properly address the problem.
Watson’s video came just days after multiple innocent YouTube channels were improperly removed after being flagged for tagging their videos with the abbreviation “CP,” a phrase that oftentimes stands for “child porn.”
While the videos revealed by Watson slipped under the radar during this weekend’s cleanup, countless argue they wouldn’t have even been there in the first place if YouTube basically enforced its rule preventing uploads from users under the age of 13.
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