Tech

‘Every Parent Should Be Appalled’: Sen Hawley Takes On YouTube Over Algorithm Child Predators Exploit

Reuters

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Chris White Tech Reporter

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri announced a bill Thursday that would effectively force YouTube to nix an algorithm child predators are using to prey on children.

The bill would force YouTube and other video hosting platforms to turn off their recommendation systems for videos featuring children. Hawley’s legislation comes after a June 3 New York Times article showed a YouTube algorithm was directing content of children in bathing suits to users who watched other videos of prepubescent kids.

“Every parent in America should be appalled that YouTube is pushing videos of their children to pedophiles,” Hawley said in a statement attached to the announcement. “It’s equally outrageous that YouTube refuses to take the most effective step necessary to fix the issue.”

The Daily Caller exposed a similar problem in YouTube’s system in May.

“I’m proud to announce this legislation to force YouTube to do the right thing and place children’s safety over profits and pedophiles,” he added.

It comes shortly after YouTube announced Wednesday a move that would effectively remove white supremacists from its platform. (RELATED: YouTube Will Now Ding Content From White Supremacists As It Targets Hate Speech)

YouTube ultimately nixed several of the videos child predators were exploiting but left up others after The NYT alerted company officials of the problem. That might not be enough to assuage customers. YouTube is not doing enough to solve the problem, researchers said.

Researchers say the company should turn off its recommendation system on videos of children. Company officials, however, argue that dramatically altering the recommendation algorithm would hurt its business model and affect users who earn money from the platform.

(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Google and YouTube have not responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment about how the company plans on addressing white supremacist content and the instruments child predators use to view children.

Hawley, for his part, has been on a tear recently. He proposed a bill May 8 seeking to ban “pay-to-win” apps targeted at children, which charge for upgrades and other rewards even though the applications are initially provided for free. Hawley cited Candy Crush as one of the biggest culprits of leveraging children’s willingness to learn for profit.

He pushed a bill in May requiring President Donald Trump to restrict any technology to China that would contribute to the communist country’s military. The president signed an executive order shortly thereafter banning certain types of technologies from foreign countries deemed a national security threat to the United States.

Hawley is also going after Google and Facebook’s use of private data. He announced a bill in May creating a program similar to the national Do Not Call list that gives people the power to prevent online companies from collecting any more data than what is otherwise necessary for the companies’ services.

Follow Chris White on Facebook and Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.