YouTube pulls down Amos Yee’s channel to keep brands safe

YouTube has taken down Amos Yee's channel. Yee, a Singapore blogger and content creator who recently fled to the US for political asylum,  announced the news of his YouTube shut down on his Facebook, adding that his channel was taken down due to his pro-pedophilia views.

The move followed after a trade organisation, the US Toy Association, pulled its ads from YouTube after one of its campaigns were found on Yee’s channel, BBC reported. According to SCMP, the ad ran on a playlist called “paedophilia is life” on Yee’s channel.  Prior to the removal, Yee’s account had around 40,000 subscribers, the SCMP report added.

A YouTube spokesperson confirmed to Marketing that Yee's videos and channel were terminated because it violated YouTube's content community guidelines. It was not in reaction to brand safety.

Currently, YouTube's Community Guidelines explicitly prohibit any type of activity that sexualises minors. This policy has always been in place, the spokesperson said. The specific policy states: "Uploading, commenting, or engaging in any type of activity that sexualises minors will immediately result in an account termination."

This is not the first time YouTube faced brand safety concerns involving the exploitation of children. In November last year, YouTube saw major advertisers pulling their ads from the platform over brand safety concerns that their ads were running on videos of children being targeted and exploited. This includes brands such as Amazon, Cadbury, eBay, Mars, Diageo, Adidas, HP and Deutsche Bank.

The clips are usually of boys and girls performing everyday activities in their homes. But sometimes the children can be seen partially clothed or in their nightwear. Although legal and mostly uploaded by children themselves, the content was said to be is easily exploited by paedophile networks which are said to post messages and links to one another in the comments section underneath the videos.

An investigation by The Times and BBC found that YouTube had allowed sexualised imagery of children to be easily searchable and not lived up to promises to better monitor and police its services to protect children. The news also came after a shocking investigation revealed earlier that YouTube’s system for reporting sexual comments on children’s videos has not been working for more than a year.

The past year has been a rough one for the platform when it comes to brand safety. Earlier this year, YouTube tightened its monetisation policies for creators following the Logan Paul debacle. This saw the platform enforcing stricter criteria for monetisation on YouTube, increasing the vetting of content on its Google Preferred ad program and introducing simpler and more transparent controls over ad placement.

The new measures follow its recent decision to hit pause on its business relationship with Paul, who landed in trouble after uploading a graphic video containing the body of a suicide victim. Paul’s ads on his channel have since been re-abled following a suspension.

Read also: Popular bookstore gets flak for Amos Yee tweet