Epic Games has removed Fortnite pre-roll ads on YouTube following allegations that the ads were playing on videos predators used to exploit children. The videos themselves are not inherently pornographic but it has been noticed that predators use the comments section to time stamp parts of the video that are more sexual than others. Some are even reuploading the videos themselves after taking them from the original creators.
A spokesperson for Epic Games told The Verge that "we have paused all pre-roll advertising. Through our advertising agency, we have reached out to Google/YouTube to determine actions they'll take to eliminate this kind of content from their service".
Another spokesperson from popular exercise bike company Peloton also told Wired that it too was "working with its media buying agency to investigate why its adverts were being displayed against such videos".
Following the controversy, a YouTube representative gave a statement to The Verge. "We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments. Any content - including comments - that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. There's more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly," the statement reads.
This controversy has come to light because of a video YouTuber Matt Watson posted on the platform talking about the content in question, and this isn't the first time that advertisers have wanted their ads pulled from the platform. Back in 2017 there was controversy after extremist content had ads running on them, and while companies have had more control over what content ads appear on, there's clearly still an issue.