Epic Games have joined a few companies, like Disney and Nestle, in pulling their YouTube adds after a blogger's report revealed how the comment sections of certain videos have been used to facilitate a 'soft-core paedophilia ring'.
Video blogger Matt Watson posted a video called "YouTube is Facilitating the Sexual Exploitation of Children and It's Being Monetized" on 17 February 2019, and the video is obviously kicking up serious dust.
Watson argued that YouTube is being used as a platform where paedophiles hang out, commenting and/or reposting seemingly innocuous videos, such as young girls doing gymnastics or just sitting talking.
To make matters worse, even though the deluded accuracy of YouTube's recommended mechanism has made it my personal no-click zone, accessing any of these videos literally locks you into what Watson calls a "loophole".
Essentially, the recommended algorithm ensures that it's only such videos that are displayed in the right side-bar, which isn't something many, if any, subject matters on YouTube will allow for.
What this means in practice is that kids-friendly ads, where Epic Games and Fortnite most certainly apply, are being displayed in relation to these activities - an image stain that no corporate entity will stand for.
In their post titled "5 ways we're toughening our approach to protect families on YouTube and YouTube Kids" dated 22 November 2017, YouTube said they use a "combination of automated systems and human flagging" to block inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors, which Watson questioned along the way.
YouTube said that around $8,000 of ad revenue was earned by the videos Watson referred to in the last 60 days, all of which will be refunded, with everyone involved being banned and their accounts deleted.
Epic Games said they've paused all the pre-roll advertising. “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”, they added.
If you're interested in seeing Watson's video, you can do so here, although do be aware that you're likely ruining the rest of your day.