Elsagate: The disturbing YouTube trend that might be terrifying your children

YouTube Shutters Popular'Toy Freaks Channel for Violating Child Endangerment Rules

Danny Moloshok AP

Since March, it has removed over 3.5 million advertisements on videos showing families in a violent or offensive light.

In a statement emailed to NBC News, Chism said that YouTube updated its community guidelines on November 16, and later that day the channel was terminated after users flagged the videos on the site's "YouTube Kids" App. Chism said he was unaware his videos were being shown on the app.

In March, the video site was met with advertiser pullouts when ads were found running on extremist content.

Several big-name brands including food companies Mars (M&Ms, Snickers) and Mondelez (Oreos, Cadbury), Diageo (Guinness, Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker scotch whisky), and German retail chain Lidl pulled their advertising from YouTube upon learning their ads ran alongside the videos, The Times first reported.

"While some of these videos may be suitable for adults, others are completely unacceptable, so we are working to remove them from YouTube", Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube, wrote in a blog post. "If they see something I cant make them unsee it, that image is stuck in their head".

According to an investigation by the BBC, YouTube's system for reporting sexual comments on children's video has not been working properly for more than a year.

In her statement, Wright stated that YouTube will continue to work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to report potentially illegal behavior to law enforcement.

A Mars spokesperson said in a comment to the news company: "We are shocked and appalled to see that our adverts have appeared alongside such exploitative and inappropriate content". The channel had more than 8 million subscribers when YouTube shut it down last week.

Also, the comments option will be disabled on videos where the comments refer children in a "sexual or predatory" way.

The service, which is a unit of Alphabet Inc.'s Google, also pledged to increase the number of experts it works with to assess its content as well as double the number of Trusted Flaggers - regular users, who voluntarily monitor the site for harmful content and report it to administrators.

A blog post earlier this month titled 'Something is wrong on the internet' brought the issue to wider attention, detailing many of worst Elsagate trends such as characters - and occasionally even real children - being forced to consume faeces and urine, enduring injections, suicides, drownings, being buried alive, murders, rapes, swapping heads, cannibalism, babies crying and extreme violence.

As part of the changes, YouTube will be evaluating its verification policy.

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