Photo by Matt Watson
Our apologies for the disturbing story, but the New York Times reports that YouTube creator Matt Watson has started a four-storm by uncovering, as he calls it, "a soft-core pedophiles call on YouTube "- note that the linked video, while compelling, has disturbing images and strong languages. Pedophiles have posted otherwise innocent videos of young girls, and commentators were timestamping suggestive moments in the videos, making obscene comments, and in some cases even sharing links to actual child pornography. All of this was enhanced by YouTube's recommendation engine, which often linked many of these videos.
Although YouTube has been aware of the problem for several years, Watson says that the service up until that point had only responded by closing comments on some posting algorithms. Google told the New York Times that it has now disabled comments on tens of millions of videos, removed thousands of inappropriate comments, closed over 400 channels, and reported illegal comments to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Nevertheless, major advertisers like Epic Games, GNC and Nestlé have responded by releasing advertising from YouTube.
Finally, I can only believe that as a community we have woven a dark and intertwined web, where some of the worst aspects of humanity have taken up. Managing this and the many other abuses in the network world will not be easy.