YouTube is being charged with violating child privacy laws in the US after advocacy groups have filed claims with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States. YouTube has been under fire for more than a year for its advertising policies that led to the demonetization of videos that contain content that isn’t advertiser friendly. The change in policy was called the ‘Adpocalypse’ and was driven by the realization that ads were being used to monetize videos containing child exploitation.
A coalition of 20 advocacy groups have claimed that YouTube has been harvesting information on children younger than 13 years old. This includes their phone numbers, location and internet history. YouTube uses this information to target them with ads without parental consent. This is a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
YouTube has a policy of catering to its users who are 13 years or older, directing younger viewers to the YouTube kids app and filtering out certain content for them. The platform has said it will look into any misconduct and make the necessary changes if any need to be made.
The story is the latest concerning privacy in a debate that was kicked off by the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal. It has driven talks to craft legislation in the US and the European Union to more strictly protect user information.