Report: YouTube is under FTC investigation for child privacy concerns | Rickey J. White, Jr. | RJW™
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Report: YouTube is under FTC investigation for child privacy concerns

Report: YouTube is under FTC investigation for child privacy concerns

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating YouTube for improperly collecting data from children.

The probe follows a written complaint addressed to the FTC from various consumer advocacy groups, which claimed that the Google-owned video streaming giant violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

The Washington Post, which first broke the story, said four anonymous people close to the matter had come forward with the news of the investigation, which could lead to fines against YouTube.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

In addition to data collection concerns, the complaint letter said that inappropriate content appeared in searches for children’s videos. YouTube’s recommendation engines have come under intense scrutiny over the last few weeks and months, in part because of their tendency to steer users toward unsuitable videos.

While registered younger users are directed straight to YouTube Kids—a curated collection of videos for preteens and tots—unregistered users can still access the main site. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the video service was considering a plan to move all its kids’ content to YouTube Kids, a tough feat simply for the sheer volume of videos.

Effective since 2000, COPPA deals with the collection of personal information of children under the age of 13. Its six-step compliance plan, detailed on the FTC’s website, states that online companies that collect data from children under 13 must post a privacy policy, and must also gain parental consent before collecting data from young users.

The complaint, launched jointly by several groups including Parents Across America and the Center for Media Justice, says that YouTube does not have an appropriate privacy policy. It also says that YouTube gets around the “age gate” by not permitting children under 13 to sign up to post videos, but then letting them watch videos on the main site without registering.

Source: Fast Company

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