Google Under Pressure on How its YouTube Collects Children’s Data

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Google is under pressure once again amid growing debate on privacy. Scrutiny has been lately increased how it is tracking children for advertising. House members David Cicilline and Jeff Fortenberry have sent a letter expressing concern over YouTube’s data collection practices.

Earlier this year in April, several advocacy groups filed a complaint for the same seeking investigation by the Federal Trade Commission that enforces Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa).

It is alleged the Google subsidiary platform is doubted not complying with the Coppa. New Mexico attorney general too has come up with similar allegation. About a week ago a lawsuit was filed against couple of developers and gaming apps for kids naming Google as defendant and claiming children’s data is being shared with advertisers without the consent or permission of parents.

Meanwhile, YouTube has clarified the children practices at its end are in line with that of Coppa. Terms of service of the platform reads it is meant only for people who are 13 and older. Those who are below the mentioned age group are directed to YouTube Kids app or website, which prohibits interest-based advertising.

Google said the company bars advertisers from delivering personalized ads to those who are under 13. Its policy is not to allow advertisers to collect personal information of such viewers.

In a statement Google’s spokesperson said, “We’re committed to protecting children online with a combination of family-friendly products and strict policies.”

The two House members however brings to notice in the letter that Google is aware plenty of children watch videos on YouTube and hence details are to be provided how the company collects data from children’s videos on the site.

Google is the biggest seller of online advertising and some of the most popular children channels include Ryan ToysReview and ChuChu TV. Experts point out such YouTube channels have attracted billions of views and this something really good for ad revenue, which is split between the platform and video makers.

The House members have given a deadline of October 17 for Google to reply to the series of questions mentioned in the letter like how age of users is determined and why YouTube has such channels on the main app and website which are clearly marked as made for children.

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