Google Reached a Multimillion-dollar Settlement with the FTC over YouTube Child Privacy Violation Allegations

The Wall Street Journal, among other media, reported that Google is expected to pay up to a $200 million fine for failing to protect kids who used its Youtube platform.

COPPA requires website or online service operators to provide notice to parents and obtain their explicit consent prior to collecting and using information from children under 13 years old.  In 2018, at least 23 child advocacy groups filed a complaint against YouTube,[1] alleging that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data of children under the age of 13 and using the data for targeted advertisement without parental consent and exposing children to content that’s too open, which may subject children to content intended for adults. This complaint, alleging that the violations had occurred over “a period of years.”[2] prompted the FTC investigation.

Earlier this week, YouTube announced that it is releasing a separate YouTube site for kids, called YouTube Kids.[3] This site will filter content based on different age groups. Parents will also be able to manually control the content by hand-picking videos their kids are able to watch. It is not clear if this site emerges as a response to the settlement. 

FTC will likely make a formal announcement about the settlement after the Labor Day holiday.