TOPICS: Data Protection, Advertising, Children's Privacy, YouTube, FTC, COPPA, US
Google and its subsidiary YouTube will pay $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and the New York Attorney General, according to which, YouTube collected personal information from children under the age of 13 without obtaining their parents' consent in order to provide them with ads, and thereby violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA").
channel and made use of those cookies in order to target advertisements, without obtaining the prior consent of parents, as required by COPPA.
In an attempt to refute the application of COPPA, Google and YouTube alleged that the service is not directed at children. However, the FTC presented evidence that YouTube had solicited brand partnerships and advertising based on its popularity with children,
-11 against top TV channels", which was considered by the FTC as evidence of the platform's awareness of its widespread use by children.
As part of the settlement, YouTube will be required to develop, implement and maintain tools for channel owners on YouTube to designate whether their content is directed at children, and to ensure that both YouTube and channel owners are compliant with the COPPA. YouTube has also committed to p compliance by all of its employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.
In addition, YouTube is required to develop and submit to the FTC its methods for tracking child users on YouTube. These include measures taken to avoid tracking children as well
as measures used to obtain verifiable consent from parents and giving parents the means to review personal information collected from their children through YouTube.
Following the settlement, YouTube has announced updates on its services. The platform not only has committed to use machine learning technology to more precisely identify child-oriented content, but also to treat data from anyone wa YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. In practice, this means YouTube will limit data collection and use on videos made specifically for kids; stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely; and removing features on this type of content, such as comments and notifications. It will also require creators to identify whenever their content falls within this category. Finally, YouTube has also released a desktop version for YouTube Kids.
The settlement amounts to the largest penalty ever imposed on any company by the FTC for violating COPPA, exceeding the $5.7 million fine imposed on TikTok's parent company earlier this year. This year also saw major updates in efforts to protect children online, including updates in platforms' policies.
We will be happy to provide further advice on compliance with COPPA and children data privacy regulations.
This update was published as part of our Technology & Regulation monthly client update. To read more about HFN's Technology & Regulation Department, click here.