AT&T is the latest advertiser to remove all of its ads from Google-owned video platform YouTube, after widespread new reports this week that pedophiles have figured out how to glom themselves onto videos of kids, often girls, marking time stamps that show child nudity and sexualizing them in gross comments.
YouTube reportedly sent a memo to advertisers outlining changes it's making this week to help protect brands.
On Wednesday, Nestle and "Fortnite" maker Epic Games yanked some campaigns on YouTube. Disney was reported to have also paused ads.
From Sara Salinas at NBC News:
There's no evidence that AT&T ads ran before any of the videos brought into question by recent reports. Advertisers such as Grammarly and Peloton, which did see their ads placed alongside the videos, told CNBC they were in conversations with YouTube to resolve the issue.
YouTube declined to comment on any specific advertisers, but said in a statement on Wednesday, "Any content — including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments."
Also on Thursday, AdWeek obtained a memo YouTube sent to advertisers that outlines immediate changes YouTube says it's making in an effort to protect its younger audience. CNBC confirmed its authenticity with one of the brands that received the memo.
YouTube said it is suspending comments on millions of videos that "could be subject to predatory comments." It's also making it harder for "innocent content to attract bad actors" through changes in discovery algorithms, making sure ads aren't appearing on videos that could attract this sort of behavior, and removing accounts "that belonged to bad actors." YouTube is also alerting authorities as needed.