A coalition of more consumer advocacy groups is to file a complaint with federal officials claiming that YouTube has been violating a children’s privacy law.
They contend that YouTube, part of Google, has been collecting and profiting from the personal information of young children on its main site, although the company says the platform is meant only for users 13 and older. The coalition of 20 consumer groups say YouTube failed to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law that requires companies to obtain consent from parents before collecting data on children younger than 13. The groups are asking for an investigation and penalties from the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the law.
YouTube defines its main site and app as destinations for viewers 13 and older. It directs younger children to the stand-alone YouTube Kids app, which contains a filtered set of videos from the main site. YouTube’s distinction between its main product and YouTube Kids is significant because of the rules on disclosure and parental consent that kick in for sites with “actual knowledge” that they are trafficking in the personal information of children under 13.