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Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Google and YouTube are introducing new safety protections for users under 18, according to company blog posts Tuesday.

Why it matters: Google joins Facebook-owned Instagram in changing privacy and advertising policies for younger users as regulators across the globe scrutinize how Big Tech affects children.

Google changes in the coming months include:

  • A new policy allowing anyone under 18, or their parent or guardian, to request removal of their images from Google Image search results.
  • Blocking ad targeting based on the age, gender or interests of people under 18.
  • Users under 18 will not have the ability to turn on location history (which is off by default).
  • SafeSearch, which filters out explicit results, will be turned on for existing users under 18 and will be the default setting for teens creating new accounts.
  • Apps will be required to disclose how they use data as part of a new safety section for Google Play, which will also highlight which apps follow Google's family policies.

Meanwhile, YouTube changes include:

  • Removing "overly commercial" videos from YouTube Kids, which YouTube says could be content that focuses solely on product packaging or "directly encourages" kids to spend money.
  • Adjusting the default upload setting to the most private option for users between 13 and 17, with private uploads only being seen by the user and whoever they choose.
  • Turning on "take a break" and bedtime reminders by default for users 13-17, and turning autoplay off by default for the group (although they can turn it back on).
  • Adding an autoplay option for YouTube Kids, but turning it off as the default setting in the app.

Flashback: Google agreed to pay a $170 million fine in 2019 to settle allegations from the Federal Trade Commission that YouTube violated children's privacy provisions.

Go deeper

Slain reporter's family asks FTC to take on Facebook over violent video

Andy Parker, father of Alison, speaking at a rally. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The family of slain journalist Alison Parker, who died in 2015, is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against Facebook for not removing a video of her death, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Facebook has faced mounting widespread scrutiny in recent weeks from lawmakers and the public, initially spurred by whistleblower accounts by former employee Frances Haugen.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 13, 2021 - Technology

Groups launch "How to Stop Facebook" effort

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

A coalition of nonprofits on Wednesday debuted HowToStopFacebook.org, a fresh push to encourage greater government regulation of the social networking giant aimed at forcing the company to change its business model.

Why it matters: The campaign hopes to take the outrage expressed by legislators over the revelations of whistleblower Frances Haugen and translate it into action.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.