YouTube is illegally collecting kids’ data, claims more than 20 advocacy groups. It seems that Facebook’s data breach scandal wasn’t enough as now YouTube has found facing similar allegations. According to the reports of children’s rights groups YouTube has violated child data protection laws and is legally responsible to be fined “tens of billions” of dollars.
Several advocacy groups have blamed popular video sharing platform for illegally collecting data about its young and immature viewers.
Moreover, they demand that YouTube should to pay a heavy billion-dollar as a fine and develop its content policies for underage children.
According to the details, more than 20 advocacy groups complained directly to the FTC about YouTube violation. The platform has been making a huge amount of money over the years and has violated the clauses of Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), made back in 1998.
The Act was made to protect the children in order to prevent online entities from getting data of children aged less than 13 unless they have permission from parents.
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The Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood put the complaint. It reads,
“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.”
Well, on the other side if we check YouTube’s policies, children under 13 are not even allowed to create a Google Account. As, a Google Account is required to sign into YouTube and except you are above 13, Google does not permit you to do so.
Conversely, the complainants say that YouTube is a free-to-use service and everybody can watch any kind of content on it without making an account.
Well, it has been seen that many kids either say that they are above 13 while making an account or just use someone else’s account.
A research says that 45% of children that use YouTube and have Google Accounts are less than 13.
Well, kids love YouTube and it has many channels exclusively dedicated to kids and surely these channels have a massive viewership and as a result healthy profits.
On the other hand, Google does not allow advertisers to target people under 18 however they can still be targeted with keywords such as “toys” used mostly in advertisements. Well, Google says that it strictly follows COPPA. The company says protecting its users’ privacy is its top priority.
Google also introduced a YouTube Kids app for targeting specific age groups. The app does not gather any kind of data and obeys strictly with COPPA’s clauses. A Google spokesperson said,
“Protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. We will 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.”
Well, coming to the topic, the plaintiffs suggested a $41,484 amount as fine per violation. Well, if it gets true and total fine for YouTube could amount to tens of billions.