Following a major investigation that found flaws in YouTube ability to flag predatory content in the comments section of children's videos, several companies are pulling their ads from YouTube.

Mars, Cadbury, Deutsche Bank, Lidl and others have either suspended or pulled their ads until the problem is resolved. “We are shocked and appalled to see that our adverts have appeared alongside such exploitative and inappropriate content,” a spokesperson from Mars said. “We have taken the decision to immediately suspend all our online advertising on YouTube and Google globally. Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube and Google.”

According to a statement provided to the Guardian, Lidl is suspending its ads from YouTube as well. “It is completely unacceptable that this content is available to view and it is, therefore, clear that the strict policies which Google has assured us were in place to tackle offensive content are ineffective. We have suspended all of our YouTube advertising with immediate effect.”

Some companies, like Adidas, said they were aware of the issues but did not announce a YouTube ad suspension. “We recognize that this situation is clearly unacceptable and have taken immediate action, working closely with Google on all necessary steps to prevent this from happening again,” Adidas said.

According to the BBC report the problem stemmed from flags comments not being associated with a correct video. Sources told the BBC that moderators could see if an account had been flagged but not the specific comment or video that led to the report.  There could be upwards of “at least 50,000 active predators” on YouTube today, the BBC reports.

The comments could range from suggestions to outright obscene. Comments like "oh baby," "nice sexy" and even "please can you get completely naked" were comments found on videos children posted to YouTube.

This week YouTube announced it was 'toughening' its approach to 'protect families' on its service. "In recent months, we've noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not,” YouTube said in a statement. “While some of these videos may be suitable for adults, others are completely unacceptable, so we are working to remove them from YouTube.”

New YouTube comment protections include:

  1. Tougher application of our Community Guidelines and faster enforcement through technology

  2. Removing ads from inappropriate videos targeting families

  3. Blocking inappropriate comments on videos featuring minors

  4. Providing guidance for creators who make family-friendly content

  5. Engaging and learning from experts

You can read YouTube’s full strategy to combat predatory YouTube comments here.

“Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies,” Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management at YouTube said in a statement. “These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge. We’re wholly committed to addressing these issues and will continue to invest the engineering and human resources needed to get it right. As a parent and as a leader in this organization, I’m determined that we do.”