LOS ANGELES, June 14 A 24-year-old YouTube
singer with a teen fan base has been charged with using social
media to solicit explicit videos from two young female fans.
Austin Jones was charged with two counts of production of
child pornography, according to a complaint filed on Tuesday in
U.S. District Court in Chicago, where he appeared. He is being
held in federal custody pending another hearing on Thursday.
Jones has racked up millions of views on YouTube, a unit of
Alphabet Inc, with his covers of pop songs and has
more than 200,000 followers across his Twitter, Instagram and
Jones' attorney Gerardo Solon Gutierrez said by phone that
the singer was "innocent until proven guilty."
His arrest marked another scandal involving YouTube's social
media personalities. In February, YouTube and Walt Disney Co
cut ties with influential Swedish social media star
PewDiePie, who boasted some 53 million YouTube followers, after
he posted a series of videos deemed anti-Semitic.
According to the federal complaint, Jones used Facebook
and Apple Inc's iMessage service to request
sexually explicit videos from girls aged about 14 to 15.
The documents allege that Jones sent numerous messages to
two 14-year-old female fans from 2016 and 2017 in which he
instructed them to expose their genitals in videos sent to him
A review of his social media activities showed that "his
primary fan base appears to be teenage girls," the court
documents said, adding that Facebook shut down Jones' page a
month ago due to his involvement with minors on the network.
Facebook Inc said in a statement on Wednesday: "We have zero
tolerance for sharing or soliciting child exploitative images or
videos on Facebook, and we cooperate with law enforcement
agencies that investigate these crimes."
Representatives for YouTube and Apple did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jill Serjeant and