YouTube Rolls Out Changes to How it Handles Children's Content Following FTC Settlement

YouTube and its parent company Alphabet paid $170 million to settle charges they violated federal children's privacy laws in 2019.
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Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Report video sharing website YouTube officially rolled out new guidelines for protecting children’s privacy Monday as part of a record $170 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The company now treats personal information from anyone watching children’s content on the platform as coming from a child, regardless of the users’ age.

Last year, the FTC charged YouTube with illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent. The company agreed to pay $136 million to the FTC and another $34 million to the state of New York to settle the charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA.

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons in a statement at the time the settlement was announced in September. “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.”

Alphabet and YouTube will limit data collection and use for content aimed at kids. YouTube will no longer serve personalized ads on children’s content or support features like comments, live chat, notification bells, stories or the ability to save to a playlist.

To identify kids' content on the site, YouTube introduced a new audience setting that lets creators indicate whether the material is intended for children.

“Many creators around the world have created quality kids content for their audiences, and these changes will have significant impact. We’re committed to helping creators navigate this new landscape and to supporting our ecosystem of family content,” the company said in a statement.