Child advocates, consumer groups asking FTC to investigate YouTube

Child advocates, consumer groups asking FTC to investigate YouTube
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Consumer organizations and advocates for children are filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), accusing Google of violating kids’ digital privacy through YouTube, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The complaint will reportedly request that the FTC probe Google and potentially slap fines on the company, which it accuses of targeting children with ads.

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“Google profits handsomely from selling advertising to kid-directed programs that it packages,” said Center for Digital Democracy Director Jeff Chester, as reported by The AP. 

“It makes deals with producers and distributors of kids’ online programs worldwide. Google has built a global and very lucrative business based on kids’ deep connections to YouTube.”

The groups allege YouTube is in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a law that a spokesperson for the FTC said it takes “very seriously.”

In an email to the AP, YouTube said it plans to “read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve.”

“Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative specifically designed for children,” the statement read.

The digital video company prevents children below 13 from making a YouTube account, but users do not need one to view videos, the AP noted. 

“I think the day of reckoning has arrived,” Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill Democratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream MORE (D-Mass.), a co-author of COPPA, told the AP. “Americans want to know the answers as to whether or not the privacy of their children is being compromised in the online world.”