Tech

YouTube’s major privacy upheaval on kids videos starts

Starting on Monday, YouTube will overhaul its systems to comply with a landmark privacy ruling, a move that could dent revenue for the Google video giant and thousands of its creators.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google settled with federal regulators in September for violating laws on collecting data from minors, and YouTube agreed to a series of changes. Videos designed as “made for kids” would be stripped of targeted ads, which fetch higher prices, and other valuable features, such as user comments and live chats.

The Federal Trade Commission, which fined Google over the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, has given broad directives about what it considers child-directed video, including clips with popular animations and kids play with toys. Individual video creators will face fines for violating COPPA going forward, which has sparked panic.

“YouTube now treats personal information from anyone watching children’s content on the platform as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user,” the company wrote in a Monday blog post.

These changes have been expected for months, but their impact is still unknown. Google has warned that some video creators could lose a bulk of their ad sales. The company hasn’t shared its sales or how much of its massive catalog comes from videos “made for kids.”

“We’re committed to helping creators navigate this new landscape and to supporting our ecosystem of family content,” YouTube said. “We’ll share more in the coming months.”

In addition to the restrictions on videos, YouTube will begin placing a text below “made for kids” videos directing viewers to YouTube Kids, an app that’s designed for children. The app has a much smaller audience than the main YouTube service.

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