YouTube faces what is probably the biggest crisis in its history, again. The existence of groups of pedophiles using the Youtube recommendation system to share abusive content can have serious consequences; both for the company and for its users.
It all started when an investigation by youtuber Matt Watson showed how videos with the presence of minors are shared and used by pedophiles; the comments are used to notify other users and share other videos, and the recommendation system shows other videos featuring children.
The consequences of this investigation have been immediate. In just 48 hours YouTube has lost some of the most important advertisers of its platform; brands like Disney, Fornite or Nestle have eliminated their YouTube ads. None of these companies wants their brand to be associated with potentially pedophile videos. This not only affects Youtube, but mainly Youtubers, who see how their videos are suddenly having much less income than usual.
The big question was what was going to be YouTube’s first reaction to this scandal. Some of the measures are as expected, but others have provoked a harsh reaction from the creators. YouTube says it has disabled the comments of tens of millions of videos in the last 48 hours. In addition, 400 different channels have been eliminated, based on the comments they left in videos; the “illegal comments”, according to Youtube, have been reported to the police.
YouTube has been very clear in stating that it does not matter if the video does not have any problem; or that the user who has uploaded the video has not done anything wrong. If any user decides to use the comments to post offensive or illegal content, the video will be demonetized. This is an extreme measure, as the official account of Youtube on Twitter has confessed, stating that it is an “abundance of precaution” to avoid content that may be harmful to minors.
The youtubers, definitely, see once again how they are not a priority for YouTube, and again they are the ones who take the rap.