YouTube to end ads on videos aimed at kids

Google’s streaming platform under fire for failing to protect younger users and potentially breaching COPPA safety laws

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 22.08.2019 | Business

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YouTube is ending targeted advertising on videos aimed at children, or those they are likely to view, according to sources in a Bloomberg report.

The move comes amid mounting pressure from US authorities for YouTube to overhaul its ad structure and bring an end to commercial practices that exploit younger users.

The Google-owned streaming platform may have potentially broken multiple federal laws.

An open investigation by the Federal Trade Commission aims to determine whether or not YouTube has breached the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by capturing data to deliver targeted adds and recommending videos that could put kids at risk through its algorithm.

Advertising directly to children below the age of 13 is forbidden under US rules, though despite YouTube’s reassertions that its main app is not for children, the ease of access makes this hard to enforce or police.  

How this will impact influencer marketing or channels built around unboxing kids’ collectables remains to be seen. Trials to remove likes on Instagram have led influencer marketing experts to reevaluate how they approach the platform and what constitutes a ‘’real’ influencer beyond so-called vanity metrics.

Last month, YouTube’s parent company Google came to an agreement with the FTC to pay a “multi-million-dollar fine” over the issue. But the extent of the punitive measures have yet to surface as the Department of Justice combs over the details.

The streaming platform has this year already been forced to ban comments on videos aimed at children after an alarming discovery unearthed groups of sexual predators congregating below the videos to make execrable remarks and share illegal content.

Blowback earlier this year in February spooked the streaming company when some of its biggest advertisers such as Disney, Hasbro and Epic Games temporarily boycotted the service, cutting back or pulling their spend entirely.

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