Child exploitation fears prompt big advertisers to pull ads from YouTube

Videos of girls performing gymnastics and yoga targetted

YouTube is under fire after a video blogger raised concerns that pedophiles have been using the platform to trade information and draw attention to video clips of young girls.

Blogger Matt Watson said innocently-made posts of girls performing things like gymnastics or yoga were being exploited by a soft core pedophilia ring. Some users, he said, made suggestive comments and highlighted moments in which the girls were in compromising positions.

Nestle has paused its advertising on YouTube after some of its ads were shown on videos in which inappropriate comments were made. Epic Games has paused all of its pre-roll advertising on the platform and German food giant Dr. Oetker has halted its advertising.

YouTube says it has deleted some accounts and channels and reported illegal activity to authorities. It has also disabled comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors.

It’s not the first time big brands have pulled their ads from YouTube. Some stopped running ads on YouTube last year after some of them appeared on channels promoting extremist content.