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Opinion: YouTube’s ‘sadistic kids’ section proves something needs to change

Michael Graziano, Guest Writer

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These grotesque thumbnails represent a horribly corrupted YouTube.

YouTube has been under fire recently for some pretty bad decisions, amidst a controversy involving the exposure of pornography to young children. Hey, keep reading, you read that right.

This entire problem is referred to as “Elsagate” amongst the YouTube community, and refers to a collection of obscene videos containing popular children’s characters such as Elsa, Spiderman, The Joker, etc.

The videos themselves range from idiotic mental poison to straight up fetishistic pornography. One example of a video that made it to the YouTube kids platform is entitled “ELSA’s forced Slavery in Club Stripper with Sofia.”

455,000 views.

An article by The Verge describes Elsagate in detail, saying “creators were drawing children in with familiar characters — most notably Elsa from Frozen, but also Spider-Man and the Joker — then arranging them in bizarre situations involving cheating spouses or public urination.”

Some of the big dogs in this specific– genre…?– earn tens of millions of views per video, and feature pop culture characters engaging in various obscene acts that some describe as taboo sexual fetishes (latex bodysuits, force feeding, enslavement). Hell, there’s an entire subgenre (multiple channels make these videos) of children’s characters drinking each other’s urine through a faucet in a wall. I could end the article right here, I don’t think there’s much else to say…

Anyways, I’d just like to mention that these videos MADE IT TO THE YOUTUBE KIDS PLATFORM. As in, these videos populate YouTube’s app that plays a nonstop stream of videos that they deem acceptable for young children to watch. Listen parents, if you don’t want your kid to be the next Ted Bundy, I suggest some nice outside time, and perhaps a sledgehammer to every electronic device they own.

This went on for over a year before any action was taken. YouTube had become so disconnected from itself, that they decided to automate the content filtering process, leaving it completely up to Artificial Intelligence. Sure worked out, didn’t it!

When YouTube was informed about what was going on, they immediately took to action. They began a crusade of demonetizing (taking away the ability for a video to make money from ads that run on them) of a massive amount of content on the platform. As this was happening, YouTube was already facing harsh scrutiny for demonetizing content of innocent YouTubers, which in some cases deprived them of their only source of income.

YouTube at this point had doused themselves in gasoline, set themselves on fire, and now set out to kick a hornet’s nest as well. Oh, and the kiddies were still getting their daily dose of porn.

A Forbes article cited that “YouTube confirmed that it had ‘terminated more than 270 accounts and removed over 150,000 videos’, ‘turned off comments on more than 625,000 videos targeted by child predators’ and ‘removed ads from nearly 2 million videos and over 50,000 channels masquerading as family-friendly content’. Yet this didn’t even scrape the surface.

Alas, the hydra’s head had been cut, and new breeds of sickening videos had been spawned. Suggestive videos of young children in skin-tight clothing doing yoga, children performing adult acts such as drinking and smoking, and infants being injected with needles all surfaced, and the community that developed to monitor this issue concluded that it was most definitely a pedophile ring operating on YouTube.

The fact that YouTube has allowed itself to degrade to such a level raises questions as to whether or not the site should still be relevant, and if I’m being honest, it shouldn’t. This is primetime for third party video hosting websites to prove their worth, as viewers and creators alike are no longer satisfied with the state of the platform.

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Opinion: YouTube’s ‘sadistic kids’ section proves something needs to change