Today in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called Protecting Innocence in a Digital World, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called out YouTube for prioritizing ad revenue over children’s safety. Senator Hawley discussed the legislation he introduced to ban video-hosting websites like YouTube from automatically recommending videos of children. Hawley’s legislation followed The New York Times reporting that YouTube’s algorithm automatically curates home videos of children for pedophiles.
“This report was sickening, but I think what was even more sickening was YouTube’s refusal to do anything about it,” Senator Hawley said. “YouTube admitted that they could do something about it, they could stop auto-referring these videos of minors to pedophiles, but they chose not to do so. Why not? Because their model is that 70 percent of their traffic comes from these auto-recommended videos. In other words, there is ad revenue that would be lost if they actually took some enforcement steps here, took some steps to stop this exploitation of children."