YouTubers panic over kid ad change
Children are worth their weight in data to YouTube creators who are scrambling to stop the US Federal Trade Commission from taking that income away.
In response to FTC allegations that YouTube has been violating the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by tracking kids' data, the video giant is gearing up to turn off comments and limit data collection on tot-targeted videos - much to the chagrin of platform influencers who make money off such viewership-boosting features and money-earning data, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Recently, the Google-owned site began requiring creators to make clear if videos are aimed at children or a general audience - or risk potential fines from the FTC. Beginning in early January, the platform will limit the amount of data that children-aimed videos can collect and stop showing personalised ads on videos where Google knows the viewer to be underage.
Because YouTube pays its content creators based on how many views and ads their videos get, this means less ad dollars for makers of kid-friendly content - a highly lucrative field where some creators make double-digit millions annually. For videos that are defined as being aimed at all ages, YouTube will collect data on all viewers.
Terrified creators, concerned about losing their incomes, have flooded the FTC with a record 175,000 submissions demanding the agency not meddle with YouTube.
"We believe that our content is for a general audience, but the Government can come tell us, 'No, it's not'," creator Mike Moore tells WSJ. "That's the scary part."
Some industry experts blame the parent company for the problem and say creators are being unfairly held responsible.
"Google should have been obeying the law and the creators wouldn't be in this mess," Josh Golin, executive director of the non-profit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, tells WSJ. Indeed, YouTube has long claimed its main platform is not for those under 13, although much evidence exists that not only is YouTube hugely popular among kids but advertises itself to toy makers like Hasbro with this fact.
YouTube Kids, a separate, less-popular app explicitly aimed at young viewers, does not have personalised ads and won't be impacted by the development.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission