YouTube is having a rough month. There are two major controversies happening right now; let’s break them down.
First, a gentleman by the name of Matt Watson posted a video on YouTube calling them out for their lack of regulation on child exploitation content. He discovered there was a loophole within YouTube where pedophiles were having conversations in the comments section of videos of young girls doing things such as gymnastics in a leotard. Once you are in the loophole, your whole page turns into these videos and you are no longer fed other content such as the latest hit music video and such. I’m not talking about a comment here and there either, rather millions of inappropriate comments and YouTube wasn’t regulating it at all. According to YouTube, if the algorithm sees unusual or inappropriate activity, it will shut down the comments section on the video. However, this doesn’t really fix the issue because the video is still there and can continue to exploit the child.
In Matt’s video, he also shows big name companies – Disney, Nestle, and other large brands had advertising on these videos. While these brands did not have control over what ads their videos ran on specifically, they have since pulled their advertising from YouTube.
Since this video came out, YouTube claims to have removed 4.3 million videos and 3.7 million comments to date for child safety violations.
Secondly, have you heard of the Momo challenge? Rumors are a horror-like character called “Momo” has been infiltrating Fortnite and Peppa the Pig videos on YouTube. A child starts watching a video and suddenly “Momo” pops up on the screen instructing the child on how to inflict self harm, up to and including commit suicide. Since the story broke, YouTube has said they have not found any evidence of this being real.
The media published the Momo videos are a hoax. However, concerned parents have taken screenshots proving it is real. Whether it is real or not, it’s a great reminder to be monitoring what your child is watching and to keep “restricted mode” on your account so potentially harmful material is not available to your child.