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Google to Pay a Fine of $170mn Over YouTube’s Child Privacy Violations

Facebook was fined $5 billion last month by the FTC after a year-long investigation into the company’s privacy violations following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal

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FILE - Signage is seen inside the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday directed Google to pay a record $170 million over YouTube’s child privacy violations.

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

The $170 million penalty is by far the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA case since Congress enacted the law in 1998.

In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General allege that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information – in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet – from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.

YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”

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FILE – Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

In a blog post, YouTube said: “Starting in four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

“This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.”

The COPPA Rule requires that child-directed websites and online services provide notice of their information practices and obtain parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13.

Also Read: Mothers Who are Dissatisfied with Their Male Partners Spend More Time Talking to Their Baby Boy

In the complaint, the FTC and New York Attorney General allege that while YouTube claimed to be a general-audience site, some of YouTube’s individual channels – such as those operated by toy companies – are child-directed and therefore must comply with COPPA.

Facebook was fined $5 billion last month by the FTC after a year-long investigation into the company’s privacy violations following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. (IANS)

Next Story

YouTube Working to Overhaul its Verification Programme

Verified channels currently have a checkmark next to their channel name

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FILE - Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

YouTube is working to overhaul its verification programme amid a controversy over the content it pushes to its users.

“When viewers come to YouTube, it’s important that they know the channel they are watching is the official presence of the creator, artist, public figure or company that it represents.

“With that in mind, we’re announcing upcoming changes to our channel verification programme starting in late October. There are two parts to the new verification programme, a new look and new eligibility requirements,” the company wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

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FILE – Signage is seen inside the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

The video sharing platform has reportedly said that the policy changes, which would go into effect in October, would move away from using subscription numbers to determine verification.

Also Read- Pakistan’s Fake Social Media Accounts Spreading Lies on Kashmir

Verified channels currently have a checkmark next to their channel name.

Through our research, we found that viewers often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity. To reduce confusion about what being verified means, we’re introducing a new look that helps distinguish the official channel of the creator, celebrity or brand it represents, the company added. (IANS)