Ever since YouTube was hit with a $170 million fine for violating COPPA, it has been trying to navigate the privacy waters. Since then, YouTube has mandated channel owners to specify if their videos are meant for children. However, this move has not been welcomed by content creators especially those who cater to children.
In September, last year, YouTube and parent company Google was penalized with a massive $170 million fine for violating the Children’s Online Privacy (COPPA).YouTube then announced changes to how it collected data on children’s content. Today, it is rolling out the changes globally.
Henceforth, all content creators will have to label their videos as either “made for children” or “not made for children”. Videos that are “made for kids” will have limited data collection and will have restricted comments and notifications features. Targeted ads will also be restricted to such videos. YouTube will also employ machine learning to understand whether the videos are aimed at a younger audience. Additionally, YouTube will also be promoting its restricted version- YouTube Kids. It will include content filters and parental controls.
When YouTube first announced these changes sometime back, there was a huge outrage around the YouTube community as to how it would affect the revenue generation specifically for those who created kid-friendly content. Also, as the notifications will be turned off, many subscribers may not even know if their favorite creator has uploaded a video unless they check their subscription box. If people don’t get to know that a new video has been uploaded, they won’t watch it. It means the creator will lose viewership and additional revenue. Also, owing to language or violence, advertisers may be less willing to run targeted ads on videos marked as “not for kids”.
Despite all this, it is up to FTC to ultimately decide what constitutes “made for children”. The FTC defines “made for kids” videos based on the age of the people in the videos, subject matter, presence of child celebrity in the videos and other related factors. Any violations could lead to a fine of up to $42,530. However, while considering various factors, FTC also makes sure to consider the financial condition of the channel and if the fine would jeopardize the channel.
That said, the difference between videos “ made for kids” and “not made for kids” is still not clear. For instance, popular games on YouTube such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox are not aimed at kids but are family-friendly.
YouTube recommends that creators sort their legal issues independently.