London - Nestle and Disney have pulled their adverts from YouTube after it emerged that paedophiles are using the Google-owned platform to prey on young girls.
Epic, the computer games company behind Fortnite, and health food brand Dr Oetker also removed their adverts from the website.
They took action after it was revealed that predators are routinely using the website to watch scantily-clad children – usually pre-pubescent girls – performing on camera.
Children are posting innocent videos of themselves doing gymnastics or performing dance routines, only for paedophiles to hijack them and post sexual comments below.
They often declare what they would like to do to the children in question, or address the youngsters directly and ask them to perform sex acts.
Disturbingly, the paedophiles also use the comments section of these videos as a message board, where they share details of private messaging groups where they can communicate undetected.
They even direct each other to what they see as the most titillating moments on the videos, posting "timestamps" that link to their favourite moments.
The timestamps are automatically turned into links, so that other perverts can see these moments without watching the full videos.
The scale of the problem has been laid bare by YouTuber Matt Watson, who has lambasted Google for profiting from a "soft core paedophilia ring" on its network.YouTube makes money from the paedophile activity by selling advertising space next to the hijacked videos.
YouTube typically hands a slice of the revenues from these commercials to the person that posted the video, while the rest helps to inflate Google’s own profits.
In 2017, Google had to quell another advertising revolt by promising brands that it would disable the comments on videos that it identified as of potential interest to predators.
It also pledged to shut down the accounts that made the sexual comments. However, it was clear that the problem was still rife.
A Nestle spokesperson said the firm had decided to "pause" its advertising on YouTube.
"We will revise our decision upon completion of current measures being taken," she said.
Epic Games said it had stopped its adverts from appearing on YouTube while it waits to hear what actions it will take to "eliminate this type of content from their service."Daily Mail