YouTube Bans Controversial Channel Over Child Abuse Concerns

YouTube banned controversial channel "FamilyOFive" following significant public pressure to do so after the two owners of the account were charged with child neglect last fall but remained active on the world's most popular video platform, continuing to create and monetize videos with depictions of child abuse. It's presently unclear when the actual ban was handed out but with the last video from the channel formerly known as "DaddyOFive" being posted less than ten days ago, the move appears to have been made recently.

Mike and Heather Martin, the owners of the channel, lost custody of two out of their five children last fall due to the aforementioned child neglect case, with each parent receiving a five-year probation sentence. The parents took their remaining three children and moved to West Virginia from Maryland following the development, continuing to post videos under the new channel name. In a statement provided to CBS-owned WUSA9, YouTube said the decision to ban the channel stemmed from a combination of the platform's strict guidelines that prohibit any kind of content that endangers children and the fact that the channel in question had a number of older issues with breaking the firm's terms of service. "Our family has worked very hard to heal and reestablish ourselves over the past 18 months," reads a statement from the Martins provided to the same outlet, without reflecting on the ban itself.

Google's video service now requires all videos featuring children to be in full compliance with applicable child labor laws, the company confirmed. No FamilyOFive videos can be viewed on YouTube any longer, though their titles, descriptions, and — in some cases — thumbnails can still be found via the search function of the service. Critics of the channel previously accused the Martins of exploiting their children for profit, citing evidence that they suffered injuries during filming, as well as frequent depictions of verbal arguments and physical violence in the family's videos. The couple repeatedly claimed the children were mostly acting in all content posted on the platform. YouTube has recently been under fire due to a number of channels accused of endangering children, whether those viewing their videos or starring in them. The company also came under scrutiny due to its data collection practices affecting its youngest users, with one advocacy group recently calling for the U.S. FTC to investigate Google's subsidiary over the matter.

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