Paedophiles have been taking advantage of the popularity of YouTube live streaming by manipulating children into taking off their clothes on screen, a report has found.
An investigation by The Times discovered more than 100 cases in which young people who broadcast online have been coaxed into taking part in inappropriate sexual behaviour.
A number of the groomers had reportedly promised youngsters thousands of extra subscribers to their YouTube channel if they agreed to their requests, said the findings.
In one case, it is reported that two girls under the age of eight were asked to “pull (their) pants down” and to mimic sex acts.
YouTube has reportedly failed to remove half of the live-streamed videos showing the sexual exploitation of children, even after they were informed about them.
Targeting vulnerable children
Previous investigations discovered paedophiles were using YouTube as a means to track down and target vulnerable children.
The latest cases of sexual exploitation centre around live streaming, which has grown significantly in popularity among youngsters in Britain in recent years.
One in three children aged between six and 10 broadcast to the website live, experts estimate, with videos typically filmed from their bedroom using a webcam or mobile phone.
The video sharing website enables paedophiles to search for live streams using keywords, and then interact with children through the public comments section.
Anyone can live stream
Initially, YouTube only permitted users to live stream from their phone if they had a minimum of 10,000 subscribers.
However, this requirement was scrapped last year allowing anyone to live stream, providing they have enabled this feature on their channel.
Commenting on the investigation findings, a YouTube spokesman told The Sun, “When we become aware of new and evolving patterns of abuse, we take swift action in line with our policies.
“This action includes terminating channels and reporting abuse to local law enforcement via NCMEC.
“We have been actively working on solutions, such as improving our machine learning classifiers to better identify inappropriate comments in live chat for faster review and restricting the types of accounts that have access to Live Chat.
“We’re committed to getting this right and recognise there’s still more to do.”