YouTube has promised changes to improve child safety on the platform after receiving a record $170 million fine for potential violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Accused of illegally harvesting children’s data without their parents’ consent and using it to target them with ads, Google was charged $170 million, the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the commission in a children’s privacy case.
The company agreed to pay the fine and make changes to better protect children using the platform.
Today we’re sharing several changes designed to better protect data on children’s content on YouTube. Starting in about four months:
— YouTube (@YouTube) September 4, 2019
In this blog, Susan states that “this is just the beginning” for the company. She adds that “from its earliest days, YouTube has been a site for people over 13, but with a boom in family content and the rise of shared devices, the likelihood of children watching without supervision has increased.”
Changes to the platform include the following:
- Despite the age and supervision of the user, the data will be taken from a child’s perspective. In addition to this, the data taken will only be in support of the operation of YouTube.
- Advertisements that are personalised will no longer be available on children’s content.
- Notification and comment features will be disabled for children’s content.
- Creators will now identify their content that is made for children, and YouTube is working towards finding child-friendly content through machine learning.
According to the company, they will be taking effect in approximately four months.
YouTube acknowledges the effect these changes may have on creators and has promised a $100 million fund to support the creation of “thoughtful, original children’s content” on both YouTube and YouTube Kids.
YouTube is also recommending the YouTube Kids app to users, assuring viewers that this is an active and continuous project for the company, with more parental controls to be added.
Hank Green posted a Twitter thread with his view on the changes, stating that although they are likely to negatively impact the income of creators that produce content for children, they will likely be very beneficial for children using the platform.
Now, this might ultimately be a good thing for Kids content. I'm less concerned for individual creators and companies (and certainly for Alphabet) than I am concerned for literal children. And the end result of this will likely be an ecosystem that is more exclusive.
— Hank (Look Before You Tweet) Green (@hankgreen) September 4, 2019
In a video on his channel, Philip DeFranco spoke talked about how it’s unclear what will be defined as content specifically for children, saying “It’s going to be interesting to see” what happens four months from now.
For more information, read YouTube’s official blog post.