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YouTube changes policies in response to children's privacy fine

YouTube says it's making 4 major changes to its policies, after settling with the Federal Trade Commission for $170 million for violating children's privacy laws.

Why it matters: The changes announced by the video giant shows that it's taking the problem of preventing further violations somewhat seriously, even if children's privacy advocates argue that the fine didn't go far enough.

What's new: YouTube says it will do more to promote its kids-specific app, YouTube Kids. In addition, starting in about 4 months:

  1. It will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on its main site as if it came from a child, regardless of the viewer's actual age. This will limit data collection on those videos.
  2. It will stop running personalized ads on content made for kids.
  3. It will turn off comments and notifications on videos for kids.
  4. It will require creators to identify content made for kids.

What they're saying:

"In terms of YouTube's response, it's a good start. However expanding resources for YouTube Kids should just be the beginning."
— Dylan Collins, CEO of kids tech platform SuperAwesome
“[I]t’s extremely disappointing that the FTC isn’t requiring more substantive changes or doing more to hold Google accountable for harming children through years of illegal data collection."
— Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood Executive Director Josh Golin

The big picture: YouTube says that while it knows a lot of families watch YouTube together, it recommends that kids watching video alone use the more highly regulated YouTube Kids app.

  • Yes, but: Experts argue that children avoid sites or apps designated specifically for them.

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