YouTube gets $170 M penalty over possible violations of children’s privacy

By Matthew Brooks

YouTube collected private information about children, the Federal Trade Commission says.

The issue is about cookies. YouTube may have used online tracking data, called cookies, to collect information.

The action is legal when used to track online activity of adults after the adults agree to it. This is what is happening when the website asks “Do you accept cookies from this site?” and you click the Yes button.

The problem is YouTube may have known the online activity it was tracking was the activity of children.

A complaint to the FTC accused YouTube of using the information on what children watched to push targeted advertisements towards those kids.

Your child could watch a YouTube video that featured Transformers, and suddenly ads for Transformer toys appear on the computer, for example.

YouTube’s parent company, Google (whose parent company is Alphabet), settled the complaint for  $170 million dollars.

Google will not need to turn of the A/C to pay for the settlement.

In the second quarter of this year, Google reported a revenue of $38.9 billion, thus making the penalty about 2.28% of that quarter’s revenue.

YouTube said that it would begin treating all children’s content as though its being watched by children, even Baby Shark.

According to the statement from YouTube, the change of tracking children’s viewing habits will begin in about four months.

YouTube reaches more children in the 6-11 age group than any TV marketer, the complaint to the FTC said.

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