The Times reported that there was a YouTube channel called Toyota freaks which had over the years attracted over 7 billion views since its launch back in 2011and was running videos that were exploiting children. According to the report, one of these videos showed two girls one of whom was nine years old, wearing baby clothes, chewing on a pacifier and being purposefully terrified by live snakes.
The YouTube channel was run by a single father from Illinois, Greg Chism, and he often featured his two kids on his videos.
YouTube in turn released a statement to Campaign saying that the channel had since been terminated for violating its policies.
“We take child safety extremely seriously and have clear policies against child endangerment. We recently tightened the enforcement of these policies to tackle content featuring minors where we receive signals that cause concern. It’s not always clear that the uploader of the content intends to break our rules, but we may still remove their videos to help protect viewers, uploaders and children,” the statement said. “We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert Trusted Flaggers.”
A few Advertisers, including Iceland, O2, Yamaha Music and Dropbox have suspended advertising after the report demonstrated to them that their brand campaigns were appearing on clips in which “youngsters were distressed and in ‘inappropriate’ and ‘disturbing’ scenarios”.
This is not the first time that the Times has run an expose on YouTube calling into question its brand safety. In February of this year, the news platform released a report saying that the video sharing site was running ads alongside extremists’ content. A few Advertisers opted to boycott the video site and a few have not returned since then.