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Epic pulls Fortnite ads from YouTube following child exploitation controversy

Epic pulls Fortnite ads from YouTube following child exploitation controversy”

Nestle and Fortnite maker Epic Games say they paused ads on YouTube while the company works on the issue.

The videos pedophiles targeted apparently did not violate the company's rules, but the content became overrun with lewd remarks directed at the children, many of them young girls doing gymnastics or playing Twister, the report notes.

The videos, some of which generate millions of views, are often accompanied by predatory comments from people sharing the timestamps of when genitals are exposed or when a child does the splits. The company also removed hundreds of YouTube channels for comments their users left on videos and reported the incidents to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. YouTube added that it disabled comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors.

Vlogger Matt Watson made the allegations in a video posted on YouTube that has been watched almost two million times.

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The scandal poses a challenge for YouTube because the videos themselves are not necessarily problematic. The videos involved in the controversy came with pre-rolled ads (those that air before the video begins) from Disney and Nestle, among others, according to Bloomberg.

Earlier this week, YouTuber Matt Watson spotlighted how YouTube's algorithm was enabling a "wormhole" of videos featuring children which were being targeted by predators in the comment sections.

"During a conference call with ad buyers on Wednesday, executives at Alphabet Inc.'s Google, YouTube's parent, sought to assuage concerns by explaining the steps the company has taken to address brand safety problems that have plagued the platform", the Wall Street Journal reported.

Many of these videos were also accompanied by adverts placed by major brands such as Nestlé, Fortnite and Disney.

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Following the boycott, YouTube quickly apologised to everyone affected and promised to refund all the ad money paid by the companies in the past sixty days.

Despite growing pressure on Google and YouTube to crack down on offensive content, the firms' advertising revenues continue to thrive.

In a statement, Nestle confirmed it is "pausing" advertising on the platform while an investigation takes place.

Disney and YouTube did not immediately return requests for comment.

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YouTube has promised the companies involved that they will refund all ad spend that appeared on the videos and channels affected by this decision, which amounted to less than $8,000 in total.



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