Nestle, Disney, and other major brands have decided to suspend their YouTube ads, according to TechCrunch.
This comes after a YouTube creator said the platform enabled a “soft-core pedophilia ring.”
Blogger Matt Watson posted a 20-minute video accusing the platform of “facilitating the sexual exploitation of children” and that it was being monetized. Watson discussed the issue in a Reddit post, too.
Watson found videos of kids with YouTube users sharing inappropriate comments and timestamps. That included videos like girls performing gymnastics or yoga, as outlined by CNN. Through his video, TechCrunch reported Watson showed how YouTube’s algorithm forced people into “a pedophilia wormhole.”
Since then, large companies have responded by pulling their ads. Nestle told CNBC all of its U.S. companies “have paused advertising on YouTube.” A spokesperson told CNN the ads were pulled after being “shown on videos where inappropriate comments were being made.”
In addition, Epic, who makes the popular game Fortnite, paused all pre-roll advertising. A spokesperson told CNBC, “Through our advertising agency, we have reached out to Google/YouTube to determine actions they’ll take to eliminate this type of content from their service.”
TechCrunch reported Purina, GNC, Fairlife, Canada Goose, and Vitacost all publicly confirmed they’re stopping their ads. Bloomberg reported Disney has, too, although the company hasn’t made their decision public.
On Friday, NPR reported AT&T and Hasbro have followed other companies’ leads. In a statement to AdAge, AT&T said, “Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube.”
This isn’t the first time companies have pulled ads due to the content they appear alongside. Bloomberg reported several major advertisers pulled spending from YouTube two years ago after their ads appeared alongside “extremist and violent content.”
Companies spend money to have their ads shown on YouTube, so this is not only damaging to the company’s public image, but also hurts the platform’s pockets. That seems to be making them move quickly to repair the issue.
“Any content — including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear politics prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities, and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos that include minors,” a YouTube spokesperson told TechCrunch.
In addition, a YouTube spokesperson told Bloomberg that “total ad spending on the videos mentioned was less than $8,000 within the last 60 days.”
YouTube plans to issue refunds.