- The Times of London found 100 instances of children being groomed by pedophiles through live videos on YouTube.
- The Times reports that of the 100 videos flagged to YouTube moderators, only half were taken down. The rest were removed after contacting YouTube’s press team.
- YouTube disputes these figures, although it said there’s “still more to do” to protect children.
- Children’s protection charity the NSPCC said YouTube is failing to keep up with the “explosion in popularity” of livestreaming among children.
YouTube is still failing to remove videos of child exploitation in a timely way.
An investigation by The Times of London found 100 instances of pedophiles using YouTube’s livestreaming service to groom children, and YouTube failed to remove half of the videos the newspaper flagged to moderators.
The Times viewed live videos in which children were groomed in the comments section into taking off their clothes or adopting “sexualised poses.”
Previously, YouTube users had to have a minimum of 10,000 subscribers to broadcast their videos live, but this requirement was dropped to 1,000 subscribers, and then to none at all last year.
In one instance two girls, younger than eight, were asked to “pull [their] pants down,” which they did. In another, two young girls were asked to touch each other inappropriately.
The Times reported all 100 videos it found to YouTube’s moderators, but only half were taken down. The rest were taken down only after The Times got in touch with YouTube’s press team.
A YouTube spokeswoman told Business Insider in a statement:
“Any content – including comments – that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. When we become aware of new and evolving patterns of abuse, we take swift action in line with our policies. This action includes terminating channels and reporting abuse to local law enforcement via NCMEC. We have been actively working on solutions such as improving our machine learning classifiers to better identify inappropriate comments in live chat for faster review and restricting the types of accounts that have access to Live Chat. We’re committed to getting this right and recognise there’s still more to do.”
YouTube did, however, dispute the figures reported by the Times. It said that of the videos sent to its PR department by the Times which were subsequently removed for violating its policies, only four had previously been flagged.
Business Insider has contacted The Times for more detail.
In response to the Times’s report, the NSPCC told Business Insider:
“Sites like YouTube are failing to keep pace with the explosion in popularity of livestreaming among their young users. NSPCC research has found that children are being pressured and manipulated into harmful situations by groomers who can threaten or blackmail them.”
An NSPCC survey of almost 40,000 children from October 2018 found that almost quarter of children have posted live videos. Of those who have livestreamed, more than one in 20 have been asked to remove their clothes.
Business Insider has contacted YouTube for comment.
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