YouTube has been accused of “infrastructural violence” against children due to its role in the creation of vast quantities of low-quality, disturbing content aimed at pre-schoolers.
James Bridle, a campaigning technology-focused artist and writer, documented the way the video platform’s algorithmic curation drives enormous amounts of viewers to content made purely to satisfy those algorithms as closely as possible.
Bridle highlights videos with names such as “Peppa Pig Crying at the Dentist Doctor Pull Teeth!” – a pirate Peppa Pig episode in which “she is basically tortured, before turning into a series of Iron Man robots and performing the Learn Colours dance”– and “BURIED ALIVE Outdoor Playground Finger Family Song Nursery Rhymes Animation Education Learning Video”, which is an indescribable mixture of low-quality 3D models of Disney characters, violence, nursery rhymes and surrealism.
He writes: “These videos, wherever they are made, however they come to be made, and whatever their conscious intention (ie to accumulate ad revenue) are feeding upon a system which was consciously intended to show videos to children for profit.
“What we’re talking about is very young children, effectively from birth, being deliberately targeted with content which will traumatise and disturb them, via networks which are extremely vulnerable to exactly this form of abuse.”
YouTube said in a statement that its main site is explicitly for users aged 13 and up.