What's more, they were allegedly on You Tube's radar: Matan Uziel — a producer and activist who leads Real Women, Real Stories (a platform for women to recount personal stories of trauma, including rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking) and who provided Buzz Feed News with more than 20 examples of such videos — told Buzz Feed News that he tried multiple times to bring the videos to You Tube's attention and that no substantive action was taken.
After Buzz Feed News screened a series of these videos, You Tube began recommending other disturbing videos from popular accounts like Toys To See.
Videos from less popular accounts are frequently more disturbing.
Lastly, the company said it would work with child safety experts to continue to identify troubling trends like this one, which the company allowed to thrive on its platform for years.
Many of the offending channels were even verified by You Tube — a process that the company says was done automatically as recently as 2016.
Multiple videos — including one called "Naughty Elf," which had 8.9 million views and included a still image of a young girl taped to a wall — included programmatic pre-roll advertisements.
Thanks to You Tube's autoplay feature for recommended videos, when users watch one popular disturbing children's video, they're more likely to stumble down an algorithm-powered exploitative video rabbit hole.
All of the videos featured below were still up as of Tuesday evening.
According to You Tube, the deletions are part of a bigger effort to weed out exploitative content on the platform.
In a company blog post Wednesday afternoon, You Tube pledged to address the issue comprehensively by fixing gaps in its enforcement policy.
Starting today, the company is purging accounts that — like Toy Freaks — appear to show child endangerment.
After Buzz Feed News brought these videos to the attention of You Tube, they were removed.