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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Google has agreed to pay a $150-$200 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission for violating children's online privacy laws via its video platform YouTube, Politico reports.

Our thought bubble: It's a small fine given how much backlash YouTube has experienced over the past year for not adequately policing content and advertising on its platform that is aimed at children.

Details: According to the report, the FTC voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the settlement. Reports have suggested that the FTC was looking into whether YouTube was collecting data from children under 13 years old to serve up targeted ads.

Yes, but: Critics argue the fine doesn't go far enough, especially given how much cash Google has and how influential YouTube has become in children's media diets.

"[I]f the FTC fines Google only $200 million, that’s terribly inadequate. They have allowed YouTube to build a children’s media empire through illegal means that now, no one can compete with; all for the cost of a fine which is the equivalent of two to three months of YouTube ad revenue."
— Josh Golin, executive director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Meanwhile, YouTube has taken precautions to ensure that its kids content and policies don't attract more scrutiny from policymakers and advertisers in the future.

  • Ahead of the settlement, YouTube said it's creating a separate website for YouTube kids, previously only accessible via a mobile app.
  • YouTube will also reportedly end targeted advertising on videos aimed at children, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The fine is the latest action the FTC has taken to rein in children's privacy violations over the past year. In February, the Chinese-owned video app TikTok agreed to a $5.7 million settlement with the U.S. FTC for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

What's next: The settlement will head to the Justice Department for review.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."