YouTube's autocomplete search displays child sex results

YouTube's autocomplete search displays child sex results
© YouTube

Some YouTube users found that searching for certain innocuous phrases on YouTube autopopulates the field with phrases about pedophilia, like "how to have s*x with your kids" and "how to have s*x kids."

BuzzFeed, who first noticed the autocomplete issue, conducted its own versions of the search on Sunday, confirming what dozens of YouTube users had reported.

YouTube told the outlet on Sunday that it’s working to quickly fix the bug, but as of Monday morning, The Hill’s own search found that while “how to have s*x kids," was no longer a part of the autocomplete results. "How to have s*x with your kids" and “how to have s*x in school,” still appeared in the results.

It's not clear whether trolls are attempting to embarrass YouTube with the results, though. A source familiar with YouTube's algorithms suggested to BuzzFeed News that the asterisk in the word "s*x" indicates behavior that could be a part of coordinated campaign to prompt Youtube to show problematic results.

A group of trolls, for example could coordinate an effort to repeatedly type in such phrases with such frequency until YouTube’s algorithms recognize that they’re commonly searched for and begins to autopopulate with them.

The search results come one week after YouTube pledged to crack down on accounts spreading content abusive and exploitive to children. Such content often shows children in strange and disturbing situations like being tied up or force-fed.