YouTube refuses to stop automatically recommending footage of kids to pedophiles. U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, says the video-hosting website YouTube must stop the practice.
Dallas-based AT&T Corp. and several other major companies pulled spending from YouTube in March after the businesses’ advertisements were displayed on videos with pedophilic comments and activity.
The Google-owned video platform became embroiled in scandal after a YouTuber posted a video showing evidence of what he called a “wormhole” into soft-core pedophilia on the site.
“Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube AT&T said in a statement.
That pressure is not doing enough to effect change and now legislator are looking in to it.
Hawley wants to require such companies like YouTube to change their algorithms for videos of children or face fines and prison time. Hawley’s legislation follows The New York Times reporting that YouTube’s algorithm is designed to suggest videos of children to pedophiles.
“This report was sickening, but I think what was even more sickening was YouTube’s refusal to do anything about it,” he says. “YouTube admitted that they could do something about it, they could stop auto-referring these videos of minors to pedophiles, but they chose not to do so.
During Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Hawley says YouTube is prioritizing ad revenue over children’s safety.
“Their model is that 70 percent of their traffic comes from these auto-recommended videos. In other words, there is ad revenue that would be lost if they actually took some enforcement steps here, took some steps to stop this exploitation of children,” says Hawley.
YouTube says it has banned younger kids from live streaming unless they are clearly accompanied by an adult and has disabled comments on videos with children. The company says it has strongly enforced its policies on children’s content and removed more than 800,000 videos in the first quarter of 2019 for violating those policies.