Multinational companies pull YouTube ads
Some of the videos involved ran next to ads placed by Disney and Nestle.
According to Bloomberg, all Nestle companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday in an email. Video game maker Epic Games Inc. and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos.
Disney has also withheld its spending, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn't been made public.
On Sunday, Matt Watson, a video blogger, posted a 20-minute clip detailing how comments on YouTube were used to identify certain videos in which young girls were in activities that could be construed as sexually suggestive, such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics.
Watson's video demonstrated how, if users clicked on one of the videos, YouTube's algorithms recommended similar ones. By Wednesday, Watson's video had been viewed more than 1.7 million times.
“Any content –including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments,” a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.
Total ad spending on the videos mentioned was less than $8,000 within the last 60 days, and YouTube plans refunds, the spokeswoman said.
YouTube on Tuesday released an updated policy about how it will handle content that “crosses the line” of appropriateness.