LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Walt Disney Co. is reportedly joining a corporate effort to pull advertising dollars from YouTube following a blogger’s exposé on links between the Google video site and sexually suggestive content featuring young children.
According to Bloomberg News, Burbank-based Disney announced the move in response to a viral video from user Matt Watson demonstrating how comments on YouTube videos were used to identify videos featuring young girls in swimsuits, performing gymnastics, or other suggestive content.
Watson’s video – which had amassed more than 1.7 million views by Wednesday afternoon – showed how users could click on certain comments and access the suggestive videos via YouTube’s recommended videos functionality.
In a caption for the video, Watson alleged the videos were accessible by using “never-before-used Youtube accounts via innocuous videos in less than ten minutes, in sometimes less than five clicks”.
Several of those videos included ads placed by Disney and Nestle SA, which also announced it would pause ads on YouTube, Bloomberg reported. Disney’s decision to withhold spending has yet to be made public, according to the site.
The video platform is reportedly expected to refund ad spending totaling less than $8,000 over the last two months on the affected videos.
Epic Games and Fortnite were also reportedly pulling their YouTube ads.
“Any content –including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments,” a YouTube spokesperson told Bloomberg via email.
YouTube – a subsidiary of Google Inc. – depends largely on algorithms to place ads in its videos because the job is too much for humans to handle on their own. Upwards of 400 hours of video are posted on YouTube each minute.
In March 2017, AT&T, Verizon and several other major advertisers suspended their marketing campaigns on YouTube after discovering their brands were appearing alongside videos promoting terrorism and other unsavory subjects.