- BuzzFeed found videos being promoted on YouTube which featured thumbnails containing graphic bestiality.
- YouTube has removed many of the offensive videos, but a cursory search by Business Insider returned other disturbing thumbnails and sinister videos promoted by the 'Up Next' algorithm.
- YouTube said the thumbnails were "abhorrent" and stressed it is doing "more than ever to tackle abuse."
- The revelations come just hours after YouTube boasted it had removed 8.3 million offensive videos last year.
Bestiality images were found on YouTube just hours after the company boasted about removing 8.3 million offensive videos.
BuzzFeed News uncovered countless explicit thumbnails of women engaging in sexual acts with horses and dogs, which are being used to spike views for videos that are actually fairly innocent in nature. The videos in question have amassed millions of views, BuzzFeed said.
Search terms including "girl and her horse" returned the offensive thumbs, some of which featured in the top 20 results. Clicking on the videos triggered YouTube's recommendation algorithm, pointing BuzzFeed to other similar thumbnails.
It appears that YouTube has removed the majority of the videos in question, but even a cursory search of the terms referenced by BuzzFeed does still produce some disturbing results. Business Insider took screenshots of the offending thumbnails but has chosen not to republish them.
One video we found, titled "Girl And Her Horse Do Something On Holiday - Horse Training By A Girl - How To Teach Your Horse Lay," was promoted with a blurry image of a horse mounting a woman.
The video was posted by Singapore-based user What's the FUN, which has posted at least three other videos containing explicit imagery. The "Girl And Her Horse Do Something On Holiday" video is actually innocent, featuring a woman petting a feeding a horse. It has just over 4,000 views in five days.
YouTube's 'Up Next' algorithm did, however, promote a more sinister video next to the What's the FUN post, in which a woman touches a male horse's genitals. This has had nearly 212,000 views in two weeks and was posted by a user called j JABANA.
A YouTube spokeswoman told Business Insider: "These images are abhorrent to us and have no place on YouTube. We have strict policies against misleading thumbnails, and violative content flagged to us by Buzzfeed has been removed.
"We're working quickly to do more than ever to tackle abuse on our platform, and that includes developing better tools for detecting inappropriate and misleading metadata and thumbnails so we can take fast action against them."
A YouTube source told BuzzFeed that the graphic thumbnail videos are similar to those made by a Cambodian content farm that was kicked off the website in 2017.
The report comes just hours after YouTube boasted that it had removed 8.3 million offensive videos in the final three months of last year, with the majority (6.7 million) being rooted out by a machine. These videos included pornography, spam, and extremist material.
YouTube is under huge pressure to stay on top of inappropriate content, with the company being criticised for carrying videos promoting terrorism and child abuse. Inappropriate videos have also surfaced on YouTube Kids, including weird conspiracy videos.
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