YouTube has reconsidered and removed an ad for a service that appeared to be offering NSFW content involving AI-generated photos of young girls.
Twitter user @Aliceinwunderland posted a screenshot of the ad Jan. 27. “I booted YouTube and got this advert. I want YouTube executives to go straight to prison,” she said.
The ad was for a service called PicX. It showed a smiling blonde girl in a school uniform, and beside her offered to “AI generated [sic] ANY pics,” with a promise to “make you c#m in minute [sic].” Its description was in German, but roughly translated urged viewers to “transform your words into beautiful photos of young girls.” The description specifically used the word “mädchen,” which means female child.
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I booted YouTube and got this advert. I want YouTube executives to go straight to prison. pic.twitter.com/cyodHl1snc
— Aliceinwunderland (@Aliceinwunderl3) January 27, 2024
@Aliceinwunderland was upset because she’d reported the ad to YouTube, but had received a response saying Google‘s Trust & Safety team had, for some reason, determined the ad didn’t violate platform policies.
After her tweet picked up a significant amount of traction—1.2 million impressions to date, and 30,000 likes—Team YouTube responded. “thx for bringing this to our attn!” it tweeted. “we take this kind of stuff *very* seriously & will pass this on to relevant teams. appreciate your patience while they take a closer look into this.”
Tubefilter reached out to YouTube Jan. 30 after we saw Team YouTube’s reply, but no follow-up decision. On Jan. 31, a company spokesperson sent us this statement:
“We have strict ads policies that govern the types of ads and advertisers we allow on our platforms. Under our Inappropriate Content Policy, we don’t allow ads on our platform that contain sexually explicit content. We’ve removed the ad in question and taken appropriate action against the associated account.”
The spokesperson noted that YouTube has “thousands” of moderators screening videos and ads for inappropriate content, and that YouTube blocked or removed 51.2 million policy-violating ads in 2022. They additionally pointed to YouTube’s recent announcement that it plans to involve itself in “responsible AI innovation.”
YouTube’s revised decision seems to have affected PicX across multiple Google services. We found a listing for the PicX app on the Google Play store, with a description that said it would let users “craft the AI companion of your dreams.” The listing still shows up on a Google search, but when you click through to the app’s page, it has been deleted.
It’s worth mentioning that YouTube also hyped up AI in its Q4 earnings call–but this incident is less about AI and more about child safety, which is an ongoing issue at YouTube and other digital platforms. Just yesterday, Congress brought in executives from Meta, TikTok, X, Snapchat, and Discord to discuss what they’re doing to eradicate child sex abuse from their sites.