Child advocates call for FTC probe of YouTube

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The FTC complaint notes YouTube encourages the creation of child-focused programs, and, through its YouTube Partner Program, splits the ad revenue.

A YouTube spokesperson said in a statement: "We are reviewing the complaint and will evaluate if there are things we can do to improve..." The revised rules made clear that firms must get parental consent before collecting data that could be used to identify, contact or locate a child. Worth mentioning, it had recently hired human moderators in the wake of complaints of kids getting access to inappropriate content.

Despite the launch of a separate, content-filtered "YouTube Kids" app in 2015, a study cited in the groups' complaint found that only 24 percent of children who watch YouTube use the Youtube Kids app. It's not surprising, therefore, that YouTube actually encourages the creation of children's content for YouTube, the complaint argues.

"The GDPR is really heating up the privacy space, putting a lot of pressure on Google Facebook and others to really acknowledge that they deal with children in the protected COPPA age range than they care to admit", said Tayloe.

"Google knows kids are there, and they are not taking steps to protect their privacy".

Google allegedly uses the data about kids using YouTube to better tailor ads.

The YouTube Kids app is a child-friendly version and allows parents to control what their children are watching.

Groups that signed the complaint included the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, Common Sense, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

According to a new report from BuzzFeed, Google is now working on an algorithm-free version of the YouTube Kids app that will instead only display recommended videos from channels hand-picked by a team of YouTube curators.

An FTC spokeswoman on Monday confirmed that the commission had received the complaint, but would not provide additional comment.

"A recent study found that 80 percent of US children ages 6-12 use YouTube daily". "Since YouTube collects personal information from all viewers. without first giving notice and obtaining parental consent, it is not in compliance with COPPA".

Google said that someone must be at least 13 years old to be able to register a Youtube account.

It should also be noted that the popular video website allows content that is directed at children as young as toddlers, including popular channels hosting nursey rhymes and kids songs.

Now, technically, YouTube's terms of service forbid anyone under 13 from using the site.

The streaming video service is well aware of its appeal with young users, advocates say.

The Partner Categories platform is powered by third-party data providers such as Epsilon, Acxiom, Experian, and helps the clients to target Facebook users for the promotion of their products.

Chester, who helped create COPPA in the 1990s, said he's confident that the FTC will take a serious look after years of letting Google off the hook for pretending that kids weren't using YouTube.