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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

YouTube said Tuesday that it has updated its technology to enable the tech giant to better enforce its age restriction policies.

Why it matters: The company has been criticized and penalized for its policies and architecture that displayed harmful content to kids and violated children's data privacy.

The company is announcing three new changes:

  1. It will begin using machine learning to automatically apply age restrictions to content on its platform around the world.
  2. It's using technology to identify age-restrictive content so that when viewers discover age-restricted videos embedded on most third-party websites, they will now be required to log in to watch those videos in order to verify their age.
  3. It will start to request that some users in Europe verify their age with a valid ID or credit card, in response to new EU regulations, like the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The big picture: The company has long had age restrictions for content, but critics have argued that its enforcement mechanisms haven't always been strong enough to protect kids.

  • The company launched a standalone YouTube Kids app for users under the age of 13 last year, but many underage children still access YouTube through its main app.
  • Its parent company Google was forced to pay $170 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint last year that alleged YouTube illegally collected children's personal information.

Go deeper: YouTube's kid problem is more than child's play

Go deeper

Tech giants' life cycles shape their crisis responses

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the big five tech giants face a trifecta of crises over pandemic disruptions, government investigations, and protests against racial inequality, their ages and life stages are shaping their responses.

Between the lines: Companies have life cycles that mirror those of people. And like people, they handle stress in different ways at different stages of maturity.

Aug 27, 2020 - Technology

Tech's deepening split over ads and privacy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new fight between Facebook and Apple over the mechanics of ad tech is surfacing an industry divide over user privacy and spotlighting longstanding dilemmas about the tracking and use of personal information online.

Why it matters: Privacy advocates have been sounding alarms for years about tech firms' expansive, sometimes inescapable data harvesting without making much headway in the U.S. But the game could change if major industry players start taking opposite sides.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.