COPPA, the FTC, YouTube and Dreams

If you pay any attention to YouTube at all you have no doubt noticed many creators making videos entitled “the future of my channel under COPPA” or something similar. When the US government agency the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided to sue YouTube for it’s flagrant disregard for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and collect user information from under 13s in order to serve them targeted advertising, most people were not surprised. What has surprised everyone however, is that now it appears that the FTC are going after the content creators now as well, despite the fact that they are not responsible for the ads or the data collection. It is now a requirement to say whether your video is targeted at children. If it is then it will be removed from search, notifications, playlists, targeted advertisements and comments.Basically it becomes invisible on YouTube. If you don’t mark it and the FTC says it is for kids then you could be fined and your channel shut down. And that is not just new videos that is your entire back catalogue. And how are they going to determine this? Bots. An algorithm will determine whether your video is aimed at kids or not. Do I trust that? Absolutely not.

Dreams, in my opinion is not for under 13s. The creative side of it, and the programming is perhaps better suited to older children and adults. The community section content is definitely not child friendly in all cases. However I could see how a bot may see the cute Frederick Fox or Connie the Cone and an imp and think that is absolutely for kids. It is very worrying. It is worrying for my YouTube channel and my website, as some creators may choose to close their channels down entirely rather than risk a fine. So, some tutorial videos may suddenly disappear. We will have to wait and see what will happen to YouTube in the coming months. I am marking my entire channel as not for kids. If I have any issues I will make them restricted 18 plus. That means you will have to be over 18 to view, but at least I get to keep the comments. Hopefully this will not be required.

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