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YouTube Targeting Kids With Harvested Data, Complaint Says

YouTube Targeting Kids With Harvested Data, Complaint Says

The complaint arrives at a time when there's a heightened awareness and concern over the data collection and data privacy practices of major tech companies in the USA, as well as how those systems can be compromised by foreign governments.

The group again charges the above Google stand saying how the search giant enjoys huge access to the kid's world, an advantage that the company is also accused of using to the hilt. Further, the Google-owned company said that "YouTube is not for children", and thus, it has invested heavily in its Kids app.

According to an FTC complaint filed by 23 child protection groups, YouTube is violating the same law that brought down Silicon Valley's PiperChat. Google said the YouTube website is designed for people aged 13 and over, and people should be at least 13 years old to register an account.

The group claims that YouTube is the most popular online platform for children in the United States, used by about 80% of children aged six to 12 years old. Targeting children with ads is a lucrative business.

LittleBabyBum churns out revived nursery rhymes. This channel has now over 13 million subscribers and 989 videos which generated $11 million in revenue a year ago, according to Forbes. The same was true for the streaming service's app called "Kids", which is intended for younger viewers.

Common Sense Media, another group involved in the complaint alleges that YouTube Kids does nothing to help the situation considering all of its content is available on the main site, as well as much, much more.

"There is no reason to think that YouTube treats information collected from children any differently that that collected from other users", the complaint argues. "We will study the criticism thoroughly and appraise whether you can find matters we can do in order to strengthen", that a Google spokesperson told CNN. To prevent issues like that in the future, Google will give parents the option to use a "whitelisted" version of YouTube Kids, which relies on specialized, handpicked content rather than content found by algorithms as the app now features.

COPPA was first written in 1998. This covers both browser-based services as well as mobile apps.

FTC spokeswoman Juliana Gruenwald Henderson mentioned in an e mail that the company hasn't but acquired the letter however appears ahead to reviewing it.

Google has found itself at the centre of a data gathering row after a coalition of 23 child advocacy, consumer and privacy groups in the United States filed an official complaint against YouTube.

Denise Tayloe, CEO of COPPA consulting agency Privo, believes the timing of this criticism might be tied to a the new European privacy rules (GDPR) that move into effect next month. But so far, the site's efforts haven't stopped children from being targeted by those who are uploading conspiracy videos and other disturbing non-kid-friendly videos that feature Disney characters and other superheroes.

YouTube has tried to crack down on these videos and demonetize them, but inappropriate content continues to slip through - most recently, with conspiracy videos suggested to children.

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