Matt Watson says he may be leaving YouTube—and as a result of his detectiving, so are some big advertisers, at least for now. "Over the past 48 hours, I have discovered a wormhole ... into a soft-core pedophile ring," the video creator said in a clip posted Sunday that's since been seen more than 2.4 million times. "YouTube's algorithm ... is actually facilitating [the pedophiles'] ability to do this," he says. Watson says pedophiles who frequent the site are meeting up in the comments section of often-innocent videos featuring children to swap social media contact info, send along links to child porn, and even list time stamps to alert others on what spots in the videos kids can be found in "compromising positions." Watson's concerns have led to YouTube advertisers such as Nestle, Disney, and AT&T to pause advertising, per CNN Business.
"Any content—including comments—that endangers minors is abhorrent, and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube," a company rep says in a statement, noting that it has taken "immediate action," including disabling comments on tens of millions of child videos, taking accounts and channels down, and sending info to law enforcement on any possible illegal activity. The Verge notes YouTube has its defenders, who say the company has long been on the front lines of fighting predatory behavior. "Once they were made aware of the offending content, they handled the situation," one supporter says in his own video. The Washington Post notes a 2017 YouTube blog post that outlined its efforts on "toughening" its protections for families. (A YouTube star recently pleaded guilty to child porn charges.)