US: YouTube fined for collecting children's personal data

Regulator hits Google-owned site with record $170m fine.

YouTube had been accused by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of collecting data on children under 13, without parental consent. FTC said that the data was used to target adverts to children, contravening the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa), 1998.

As part of its settlement with the FTC, Google is required to create a new system so that content directed at children is clearly labelled. 

YouTube's chief executive Susan Wojcicki wrote a blog post about its plans to respond:

We are changing how we treat data for children’s content on YouTube…  we will [now] treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.

We will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications.

In order to identify content made for kids, creators will be required to tell us when their content falls in this category, and we’ll also use machine learning to find videos that clearly target young audiences…