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COPPA and YouTube

Recently, YouTube made changes to their site to comply with new guidelines set by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. These guidelines include having to mark content as either “made for kids” or “not for kids.” In addition, personalized ads will stop being used on content that is made for kids, which could severely limit ad revenue for YouTube content creators.

In fact, marking a video “for kids” will likely result in the video not being recommended by YouTube’s algorithm and will have no comments or notifications.

Several content creators on YouTube have addressed the issue in recent videos, with one extremely popular channel even going so far as to say that this could be the end of their channel.

According to FTC.gov, failing to flag videos could lead to a fine of up to $42, 530 per video, further impacting the revenue of content creators. YouTube’s actions have received near-universal criticism for its potential effects on content creators, with multiple petitions popping up all over the Internet.

Jim Salter of Ars Technica was less critical of the move, saying that “speaking as a parent, I’m glad the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] is taking the protection of our children’s data seriously,” but also went on to say that the creators who are being impacted “…have no control over how their viewers’ data is harvested and used.” Salter also noted that several people rely on YouTube as a source of income.

The impact on creators’ revenue is not the only problem regarding the move. As Google announced in a statement, one of the criteria of content that is “made for kids” is “whether the video includes characters, celebrities, or toys that appeal to children, including animated characters or cartoon figures.” Unfortunately, several cheery-looking videos featuring puppets and popular animated characters in gory and disturbing situations have been slipping past YouTube’s algorithm and being marked “for kids.” One such case has already been remedied, but many others have, and will continue to slip past filters as well. Disturbing clickbait “kids’” videos have become something of a trend, despite a crackdown a couple of years ago.

The effects of COPPA will reach far beyond just protecting childrens’ data. This could affect everything from creators’ revenue to childrens’ mental health. Whether or not these changes will be beneficial and this conundrum worth it remains to be seen.

By: Brig Larson

Photo Credits: Tubefilter.com

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