YouTube is making creators label content directed at kids to comply with a landmark settlement

  • Creators must indicate that a video is intended for children
  • The label will then remove targeted advertising from the video
  • This will comply with a landmark settlement that fined YouTube $170 million
  • The requirement has worried some creators who criticize its ambiguity  

YouTube is requiring creators to disclose whether their content is directed at children in an attempt to comply with a landmark lawsuit. 

Once informed by content creators, YouTube will now turn off targeted ads on their videos, making them compliant with laws that govern data collection practices  in regard to children.

According to The Verge, the move is a direct result of a $170 million settlement in which YouTube was found skirting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by using targeted advertising to market to viewers of popular kids channels. 

YouTube will now require creators to label any content that is directed towards kids in an effort to comply with a settlement with the FTC

YouTube will now require creators to label any content that is directed towards kids in an effort to comply with a settlement with the FTC

Under that statute, YouTube isn’t allowed to use its ad-targeting algorithm on anyone under the age of 13.

The change in YouTube’s policy has worried some content creators who point out that it’s difficult to ascertain which content qualifies as being direct toward children. 

‘Creators are being held directly responsible by the FTC,’ Dan Eardley, a creator who reviews collectible toys told The Verge. 

‘It’s especially scary because the verbiage of ‘kid directed’ vs ‘kid attractive’ isn’t very clear… It’s hard to know if we’re in violation or not.’

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Adding to the confusion is the fact that YouTube has declined to offer users clear guidelines on when content qualifies and when it doesn’t.

‘Ultimately, we can’t provide legal advice,’ YouTube said in its own video on the change.

‘We’re unable to confirm whether or not your content is Made for Kids. That decision is up to you taking into consideration these factors.’

Earlier this year, YouTube said it would discontinue its practice of using targeted ads in content aimed at kids, in a move designed to appease regulators and critics who say it violates federal statues.    

YouTube has struggled to rein in toxic content and set clear guidelines amid increasing scrutiny from regulators

 YouTube has struggled to rein in toxic content and set clear guidelines amid increasing scrutiny from regulators

Targeted ads use data aggregated from myriad sources in order to promote products based on user preferences and, coupled with a robust audience of children, are critical to YouTube’s business model.

The research firm Loop Ventures estimates that YouTube brings in between $500 to $750 million annually from children content alone.

While YouTube has a separate app for children that doesn’t use targeted ads, it still has droves of kids content on its main site, for which its practices of using data-driven product placement still apply.

The move to end targeted advertising for kids content marks another major step for YouTube, which has begun to alter policies amid mounting pressure from regulators.



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