News. YouTube is profiting off young views and illegally collecting data about under-age viewers. This is the accusation of more than 20 advocacy group who have filed a complaint to the FTC to investigate if Google – owner of YouTube – is violating the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). But YouTube is not alone here.
COPPA limits how a company can collect data about kids under 13. They are not allowed to collect data on kids and personalize ads or content to them, as they are too manipulative. And under the law, companies have to notify parents and get their consent before collecting data on children.
“Google has made substantial profits from the collection and use of personal data from children on YouTube. Its illegal collection has been going on for many years and involves tens of millions of US children,” reads the complaint, which was led by the Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
YouTube’s terms of service say it is not for anyone under 13. To sign up for a Google account, which is used to log into YouTube, a person must say they are older than 13.
But anyone can watch YouTube videos without an account or logging in. Parents can let their children use their accounts, or kids can lie and claim to be older when creating an account. According to Trendera research, 45% of kids between 8- and 12-years-old have a YouTube Account.
But Youtube is not alone. Lots of other services used by kids like SnapChat, Instagram, Musical.ly and Steam do exactly the same. They SAY that you have to be 13 to use the service, they KNOW that there are lots and lots of kids on their services (think SnapChap with kids’ filters) but they treat their data as if they are over 13, because they just lie about their age. 2 Danish companies are going up against the mainstream, LEGO and EduLab.
Read DataEthics’ analysis on The Child Data Violators and the 2 data ethical services