03 Jan 2020
Shocking! YouTube videos for kids caught featuring adult content
Even years after dominating as the biggest video streaming service, YouTube misses the most basic thing expected from such platforms - moderation of dangerous content.
The company has long struggled to keep videos aimed at children clean, and now, some threat actors are making this worse by uploading adult content disguised as kids' videos on the platform.
Here's all about it.
Adult content hidden behind kid-friendly 'how to' videos
As first reported by software engineer Abhas Tandon, certain YouTube channels have been abusing simple 'how-to' videos to expose children to adult content.
Tandon used simple searches and found videos that claimed to show things like how to draw an elephant but actually had downright horrifying sexually explicit material.
In fact, not just in search results, such videos even appeared in kids' content suggestions.
Thumbnail and audio sexual explicit, but not video
Possibly to dodge YouTube's search algorithms, the abusers upload the inappropriate videos with kid-friendly visuals and authentic titles.
The thumbnail of the clip as well as the audio, on the contrary, carries the sexual content, which YouTube has prohibited on its platform for years.
Notably, Tandon claims that several Hindi channels are exploiting this loophole to bring disturbing sexual videos to young kids.
Videos remain live with hundreds of thousands of views
Tandon had shared information about the explicit content on January 2, but even after 24 hours of that, the disguised adult videos remain live on YouTube.
At the time of writing this story, we found as many as four adult videos in top search results for a simple 'how to draw' query.
Some of these videos had hundreds of thousands of views.
Naturally, this is a big point of concern
The fact that kids often use YouTube to look up 'how to' videos is enough in itself to suggest how scary the situation is.
Any unsuspecting kid could run into such videos while looking up something completely different.