YouTube content creators must identify videos specifically made for children

Posted on November 22, 2019

 

Those creating content for video sharing platform YouTube that is designed specifically for youngsters must now highlight that their content is designed for this audience.

This change has come into effect after YouTube was fined $170m (approximately £131m) by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the USA for child safety violations in terms of collecting data from children and targeting ads at them earlier this year. This is the largest fine recorded for failing to comply with the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), but represents just 1% of YouTube’s annual income.

YouTube first announced these changes in a blog post in September, stating that it wanted to become more responsible when it comes to children and privacy in the wake of this dispute, and that it would begin to enforce its updated policies within four months. This means that no data will be collected from videos targeting children. This will include content about toys and games, children’s characters and themes.

An email was sent to creators towards the end of last week stating that YouTubers are now required to tell the platform whether or not the content they create is made for children, in order for them to comply with the COPPA.

Creators are able to change their audience settings from the YouTube Studio, which will see them state how much of the content they make is designed for children, whether that is a specific video, or the whole channel. They will be able to choose from three settings – ‘No kids content’, ‘a mixture of content’ or ‘a lot of content’ that is directed at children. Regardless of whether the user is a child or not, YouTube will treat anyone watching these videos as though they were a child, limiting data collection.

Users will no longer be able to comment on these videos, nor will they receive notifications from content aimed at children. YouTube will also halt targeted ads on this type of content.

YouTube has stated that it intends to use machine learning systems to help it find content that is made specifically for children. It has also said that it will remove any misleading videos from the platform that trick families and children into watching adult content.

The audience settings have been introduced as part of YouTube’s settlement with the FTC as part of its non-compliance, but the change will also apply to every creator registered to the platform. YouTube acknowledged that it wouldn’t be easy for some creators to adjust and that it may take some getting used to.

Alan Littler

Account Executive at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Account Executive.

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