Disney, Fortnite and Nestle among companies pulling YouTube ads over child abuse concerns

21 February 2019, 15:33 | Updated: 22 February 2019, 09:06

Companies including Disney, Nestle and the maker of Fortnite are pulling advertisements from YouTube over concerns relating to child abuse.

The scandal regarding potential child abuse material on the Google-owned video platform erupted after a user accused the site of failing to address predators targeting videos uploaded by children.

Matt Watson noted that users were targeting non-sexualised videos, often uploaded by children themselves, to try to spot moments they could sexualise.

People were able to leave comments on the videos telling others the points at which children were shown.

Mr Watson noted that a single watch of these videos caused YouTube's recommendation algorithms to suggest similar videos, many of which he said were monetised by advertisements from businesses including Disney.

Disney quickly pulled its ads from the platform.

It follows a report by MPs calling for new laws to hold social media companies to account if they fail to protect young users.

Responding to the criticism, a YouTube spokesperson said: "Any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this.

"We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments.

"There's more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly," they added.

A spokesperson for the food and drink giant Nestle said the company had paused their advertising with YouTube until the issue was resolved.

They added they intended to "revise our decision" after YouTube completed its efforts to meet Nestle's advertising standards.

The production company behind the game Fortnite also issued a statement saying they had halted their advertising on the platform.