Big brands and major advertisers are pulling their advertisements off of YouTube after controversy has fallen on the website for containing inappropriate or predatory videos that are aimed at children.
The Guardian first reported the news, saying that companies like Adidas, Mars, Deutsche Bank, Cadbury and the supermarket Lidl have all taken action in removing their advertisements until YouTube assures them they will not be seen on any inappropriate content.
“We are shocked and appalled to see that our adverts have appeared alongside such exploitative and inappropriate content,” a Mars spokesperson said in a statement to The Guardian. “We have taken the decision to immediately suspend all our online advertising on YouTube and Google globally. Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube and Google.”
The other companies all released statements of their own, all via The Guardian. “We take this matter very seriously and suspended the advertising campaign as soon as we became aware of it,” Deutsche Bank said. “We recognize that this situation is clearly unacceptable and have taken immediate action,”
Adidas also commented, “working closely with Google on all necessary steps to prevent this from happening again.”
The companies’ announcements come after The New York Times posted an article that blamed YouTube follow allowing inappropriate or disturbing videos that are aimed at children to slip through the content filters. The Trusted Flaggers — a group of individuals patrolling the YouTube children’s section and looking for such content — told BBC that there are “between 50,000 to 100,000 active predatory accounts still on the platform.”
In October, YouTube made the announcement that they would crack down at removing videos of this nature, and has since deactivated several accounts — such the controversial channel Toy Freaks.
Still, many are unhappy with how many of these videos still exist. “Government intervention is vital to protect children from the moment they sign up to social networks, rather than waiting until social networks deem it the right time to act” Tony Stower, public affairs manager of NSPCC, told The Guardian. “We need a set of rules enshrined in law to make social networks design protections into their sites, and we need an independent regulator to enforce those rules. This also means fining social networks when they fail to protect children.”