YouTube's Spoon Feeding Pedophiles Kids Home Videos

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YouTube uses a recommendation algorithm to help people view things they’d like to see. Recently, the algorithm seemingly encouraged pedophiles (YouTube would have no way of knowing this) to watch videos of children playing at home, videos that the family members uploaded.

A report from the New York Times detailed how YouTube had been exploiting minor children through the automated recommendation system. According to the report, researchers at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard were studying the influence of YouTube in Brazil. This was when they noticed the alarming issue. The experiment used a server, which followed YouTube recommendations a thousand or more times, which build a map of sorts in the process. The map is designed to show how YouTube users are guided as to what they may want to watch.

During the experiment, recommendations stemmed from sexually-themed videos, which is when researchers noticed that the system showed videos that were extreme or bizarre, placing more emphasis on youth. In some cases, a video of females discussing sex led to videos of women breastfeeding or wearing just underwear. Many times, the women mentioned their ages, which ranged from 19 to 16 years old.

Deeper into the experiment, YouTube started recommending videos where adults wore children’s clothing or solicited payment from ‘sugar daddies.’

With such softcore fetish recommendations already being showed, YouTube showed videos of children who weren’t fully clothed, many of them in Latin America or Eastern Europe.

These videos were usually home videos that had been uploaded by their parents. Many times, parents want to easily share videos and pictures of their children with family and friends. However, YouTube’s algorithm can learn that people who view sexually-exploited children want to see these family videos and may recommend them without knowledge.

One mother, Christine C., was interviewed by the Times about her 10-year-old child. The child uploaded a harmless video of her and a friend playing in the pool. The video was viewed over 400,000 times in just a few days. The mother said that her daughter was excited about the view count, which alerted Christine that something was amiss.

This is just one of many incidents that unfolded after YouTube publicly confronted its issues with pedophilia earlier in 2019. Back in February, YouTube had to disable comments on minor children’s videos because pedophiles were reportedly commenting on the videos in ways to signal other predators.

Studies have shown that the recommendation system on YouTube can create a rabbit-hole effect where the algorithm recommends more extreme content as time goes on. The company denied that reality or skirted the topic. However, in May, Neal Mohan, the chief product officer at YouTube, said that extreme content doesn’t drive more engagement or watch time than other content options.

YouTube hasn’t made many comments about the recommendation system or that it creates the rabbit hole effect. Instead, journalists and reporters are referred to a particular blog that explains how the company focuses on protecting minors and that its videos don’t violate any policies and are posted innocently.

The announcement also focuses on the recent steps taken by YouTube to disable comments for videos that feature or are uploaded by minors. Minors are also going to be restricted so that they cannot live-stream unless a parent is on the video. Along with such, the company plans to stop recommending videos that depict minors in risky situations.

Researchers believe that it would be best to block children’s videos or videos depicting children and not allow those videos in the recommendation system at all. However, YouTube reported to the Times that it doesn’t plan to do that because the automated system is one of the largest traffic drivers and could harm creators.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity Protection security awareness training program.


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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Robert Siciliano - that really is dangerous.  I am not sure I would she with family through Youtube.

Oct 29, 2019 01:20 PM #1
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I'm gob-smacked, Robert. All I can say is I'm happy no more children or grandchildren in my family to have to worry about in this regard.

Oct 29, 2019 02:28 PM #2
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Good grief, this is horrid. I often have my 11 and 13 year old grandsons, and I am constantly shocked how one video that they're watching leads them to another more intense video. We have lots of talks about it. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Oct 29, 2019 03:32 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Robert- it's so hard for us to keep up with what is out there in social media. My two great-nephews are always on YouTube. I am now very skeptical about uploading videos of our wee ones. 

Oct 29, 2019 08:15 PM #4
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                                  Thank you, Robert. 

Nov 02, 2019 06:36 PM #5
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Those algorithms definitely need to be repaired, and we as parents and grandparents have to do whatever we can to make sure our family knows about the potential dangers of posting videos and photos on line. 

Nov 03, 2019 06:38 AM #6
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

It's so sad, but a reality parents and any caregiver of children need to be mindful about...thanks for sharing this with us. Communication and careful monitoring of what kids digest is paramount. In addition, we need to realize those sweet videos of our precious little family members might fall into the wrong hands. 

Nov 03, 2019 06:41 AM #7
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

OMG it is so important to carefully monitor and know what your kids are doing onling as well as strict rules.  This is as creepy as it gets and on the other hand doesn't surprise me. You tube needs to clean up it's act now ...NOW. Protect children.

Nov 03, 2019 02:56 PM #8
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

On one hand it seems limiting to not be able to post a video of your kid online, however, many people should strive to be more private.  Understand that videos of them just running around can have a nefarious audience since YouTube's algorithms never catch this sort of stuff.  If you must post a video, consider the intended audience, which is usually family members.  Upload privately and send to them directly.  Don't feed these sorts of dark revelations that seem to come out everyday. 

Nov 07, 2019 09:36 AM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

This is pretty scary and creepy and I bet most people don't realize this can be happening or maybe even think about it when they are posting videos of their kids all over the Internet.

Nov 09, 2019 10:40 AM #16
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

OMG....this is terrible. So many sickos out there. It is very disturbing.

Dec 05, 2019 06:06 AM #21
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I truly appreciate all of your cyber warning posts!  Thank you for sharing. Honestly, I think people have gotten extremely careless about their privacy and when children are involved it can turn tragic. 

Dec 06, 2019 10:50 AM #22
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