According to several child advocacy groups, the Google-owned YouTube is secretly harvesting data on kids and using that data for advertising purposes.
The groups complained about the practice at the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that the company is breaking the country’s laws that bar advertising to and the collection of data on children aged 13 or younger.
The advocacy groups allege that, even though Google claims that its video streaming service is only for children aged 13 or older, the company is perfectly aware that younger kids are using the platform.
- According to the complaint, Google collects data on those kids including phone numbers, location, and web browsing habits without parents’ consent as the U.S. law requires.
- The child advocacy groups want the federal agency to launch an investigation into the matter and sanction the company if found at fault.
YouTube Accessed by 80% of U.S. Kids
The head of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Josh Golin told The Guardian that Google has been claiming that YouTube is a service for those aged 13 or older even though the website is “rife with popular cartoons, nursery rhymes, and toy ads.”
Google allegedly uses the data about kids using YouTube to better tailor ads. According to the CCFC, YouTube is used by 80% of U.S. children in the 6-12 age bracket. YouTube is so popular with U.S. kids even though it has a dedicated platform called YouTube Kids. That service was launched in 2015 in a bid to offer children an appropriate content.
The video streaming company has recently hired thousands of moderators to weed out content that is not suited for certain audiences. The move is a response to countless reports about videos showing children being abused or about other types of disturbing content.
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