FTC Fines Google $170 Million over Child Privacy Violations by YouTube

Google has just incurred a fine of $170 million slapped by the Federal Trade Commission as part of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This is also the highest fine levied by the commission under the new COPP Act.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons said, “YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”


FTC alleges that YouTube tracked children’s content and even viewed their video histories to push targeted ad content for younger audiences. This new settlement was earlier passed with a 3-2 party-line vote, while the FTC has confirmed it now. Google is also required to make changes to its practices, including the ceasing of data collection on videos meant for minors and children.

Following the settlement, YouTube said the following in a blog post – “Starting in four months, we will 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.

Many, particularly Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) who authored the aforementioned COPP Act, believe that the FTC isn’t doing enough to make sure YouTube has “critical new rules for accountability“. He also termed this a “drop-in-the-bucket fine”.

Source: FTC, YouTube Blog

Via: The Verge