YouTube plans change kids videos after $170M fine

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The Federal Trade Commission has set a price on children’s privacy online and the going rate is $170 million.

What the law says:

The FTC’s complaint is based on a 1998 federal law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. It bans websites from collecting personal information from children under 13 without their parents’ consent.

Tech companies, however, have long skirted this by saying they officially exclude kids from their services, even though they don’t really check. A group of privacy advocates asked the FTC in April 2018 to investigate YouTube’s compliance.

What going to change in YouTube?

YouTube has long said its service is intended for people ages 13 and older, a message that theoretically kept it in line with that law.

Younger kids commonly watch videos on YouTube, and many popular YouTube channels feature cartoons or sing-a-longs made for children. YouTube acknowledged Wednesday that “the likelihood of children watching without supervision has increased” since its founding because there are more shared devices and a “boom in family content.”

FTC’s complaint details how Google boasted about its youthful audience when talking to major advertisers. FTC includes as evidence Google’s visual presentations made to toy companies Mattel and Hasbro where YouTube is described as the “new Saturday Morning Cartoons” and the ”#1 website regularly visited by kids.”

Ask any kid or parent, however, and the reality was far different. Younger kids commonly watch videos on YouTube, and many popular YouTube channels feature cartoons or sing-a-longs made for children. YouTube acknowledged Wednesday that “the likelihood of children watching without supervision has increased” since its founding because there are more shared devices and a “boom in family content.”

Changes on YouTube creator Service:

Starting early next year, anyone who uploads a video to YouTube will have to designate whether or not that video is directed at children.

If a video is identified as child-focused, such as a cartoon or the “unboxing” of a new toy, Google has agreed not to put up “behavioral” ads — those that cater to specific viewers based on their age and other social characteristics. Google also won’t track the viewers’ online identities. Google says these restrictions will be in place even if the viewer is an adult.

But Google will still show generic ads, as well as “contextual” ads — those that cater to the type of content rather than the specific viewer.

These typically don’t bring in as much money as viewer-specific ads.

Google is stopping short of seeking parental consent on its main service, even for kids-focused video. The law doesn’t require it to, as long as there’s no data collection.

YouTube Kids Changes :

YouTube said it will start promoting the kids service more aggressively. On Wednesday, kids-focused pages on YouTube’s main service had pop-ups suggesting YouTube Kids.

YouTube Kids similarly does not offer behavioral ads targeted at individuals, but it does collect some basic viewer information to recommend videos. It also collects the device’s numeric IP address.

YouTube said it will dole out $100 million over three years to encourage more videos for children.

New responsibility for creators :

4 months time to for video creators a chance to adjust Google says.
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