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Diageo stops YouTube advertising over child exploitation fears

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Diageo has pulled all of its advertising from YouTube after an investigation found ads for its spirits brands appearing alongside footage deemed inappropriate for and exploitative of children.

Some of the YouTube footage had gained millions of views

Some of the YouTube footage had gained millions of views

According to an investigation this week by the Times, YouTube users have posted thousands of indecent comments on YouTube content that features children. The footage was legal and often posted by the children themselves, however the investigation found that some of the comments were sexually explicit and had been potentially exploited by paedophile networks. Some of the footage, which includes children in bed or brushing their teeth, have gained millions of views.

Diageo said today it is "deeply concerned" over the investigation and confirmed it is looking into the matter urgently.

Ads for Diageo brands are posted on YouTube through marketing algorithms controlled by the video-hosting site, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet.

"We always insist that our media providers adhere to the most stringent of precautions to ensure our brands do not appear next to inappropriate content," Diageo said. "As a consequence, we are enforcing an immediate stop of all YouTube advertising until we are confident the appropriate safeguards are in place."

Other ads named in the investigation come from companies including Mars, Adidas and Amazon. These companies have also halted YouTube advertising, according to reports.

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