It’s time for Google to face the music. The company was ordered to pay a $170 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy violations involving children on its subsidiary video sharing service, YouTube. The accusation alleged that both companies broke the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule as they deliberately tracked and sold ads targeted to kids without their parents’ consent.
Oh Google, What a Pity…
The FTC announced the news via a press release on Wednesday morning which requires Google to pay the FTC $136 million and $34 million to New York. The FTC & New York Attorney General complaint filed against Google alleged, “YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information—in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet—from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent. YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.”
Oh, Google, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand?
The COPPA rule applies to online services and websites that are directed to children under the age of 13. COPPA law was established in 1998 and this is the largest settlement since its inception.
The fine isn’t all that Google is required to do either – the FTC imposed that Google and YouTube are to “develop, implement, and maintain a system that permits channel owners to identify their child-directed content on the YouTube platform so that YouTube can ensure it is complying with COPPA. In addition, the companies must notify channel owners that their child-directed content may be subject to the COPPA Rule’s obligations and provide annual training about complying with COPPA for employees who deal with YouTube channel owners.”
Long & short, Google and YouTube must get parental consent before they collect data on children.
Google will begin promoting its YouTube Kids app more prominently to steer users away from its main service. On the main YouTube site & app, the company will no show any behavioral ads (ads targeted based on age & social traits) on its child-focused content. YouTube Kids requires parental consent and does not show behavioral ads (but does collect IP addresses and basic user info).
One thing is for sure, privacy in advertising is a hot topic and we’re sure to see more news regarding it. Stay tuned to the Chacka blog for more updates & please contact our team if you’re interested in ethically advertising on Google properties.
Google and YouTube Will Pay Record $170 Million for Alleged Violations of Children’s Privacy Law, Federal Trade Commission
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”), Federal Trade Commission
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, by LETITIA JAMES, Attorney General of the State of New York, Plaintiffs, vs. GOOGLE LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and YOUTUBE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Federal Trade Commission