Normally when I report on a breaking news piece I try to remain somewhat objective in the presentation of the facts and the news. I don’t think I can for this one because of the sheer levels of disgust and rage this fills me with. Let me try to explain the situation going on on Youtube as clearly as I can and you’ll see why.
On February 17th YouTuber “MattsWhatItIs” uploaded a video titled “Youtube is Facilitating the Sexual Exploitation of Children, and it’s being monetized (2019).” In this video, the uploader walks through the process of how he uncovered a community within Youtube that promotes and shares these videos of children for sexual purposes. He created a new account so there would be no preferences related to preexisting history on the site. By going to a video, then working through the recommended videos (which, shockingly he came across one of these within only a few clicks) he comes across a seemingly innocent video of a little girl recording what seems like a harmless bit of fun. In the comments, however, the story changes.
The commenters, generally all with new or mostly new accounts, start posting timestamps to certain sections in the video. You’d think maybe it’s something cute or funny, but in this case, the timestamps are there so people can jump to scenes where the child, the fucking child, has either their legs spread apart or what could be construed as a lolita like look on their face, or other such “features” of the video. Now Youtube is a big company, and curating and reviewing absolutely all of the content that comes on the site would be nearly impossible. But here’s where it gets worse.
Youtube does, indeed, have an algorithm for detecting inappropriate comments towards minors. It doesn’t seem to catch even a majority of them looking at the video, but there are some examples where these have been caught. Yet, even knowing that these types of videos are being uploaded to be used this way, the videos stay on the site. And once someone clicks through even a small handful of these, YouTube decides to design the recommended section to have nothing but these options.
There’s also the names and types of accounts doing the uploading. According to the video, there was literally an account called “pedophile” (though exactly spelling used by the account is unknown), and most of them post only one video ever. In the comments of these videos these people, if you can call them that, are trading links, social media contacts, and apparently links to actual child porn between each other. Even with the accounts being reported little if anything has seemingly been done.
Between the videos of these children playing in their rooms, practicing gymnastics, or eating lollipops that are being used as soft-core porn for these pedophiles, you will also end up seeing advertisements. Even on videos where the commented had been shut down because Youtube algorithms had already caught that there was a problem we start to see advertisements coming through. Ads in the upper corner like on normal videos, and even before the actual video itself. This leads to two terrible outcomes. Either both these disgusting uploaders and Youtube is making money off of this, or Youtube has decided to keep the money all for themselves.
He concludes the video by discussing how ridiculous the entire platform is, sharing his disgust of the people making and engaging in these videos, the fact that this is being monetized, and how quickly Youtube is to act on honest content creators on the site because people have sworn too many times or made slightly off-color jokes.
YouTube, and by extension their parent company Google, need to give their heads a shake and turn their focus on solving this much more severe phenomenon taking place right under their noses. Or maybe they won’t since unlike other content creators this doesn’t seem to damage their ad revenue, which frankly speaks even more volumes about the problem at large. Here’s the video for you to judge.