YouTube Said To Be Paying Up To $200 Million FTC Fine

  • General
  • August 31, 2019
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  • 4 minutes read
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

image: TechCrunch on Flickr

According to a report from Politico, Google-owned YouTube has agreed to pay between $150 million and $200 million to settle an FTC probe over alleged violations of a children’s privacy law. Politico reports the FTC voted 3-2 along party lines to give a go-ahead to the monetary settlement, sending it over to the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the review process. If this report proves true, it’ll mark another significant fine imposed on a tech giant not long after Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion fine, the largest ever imposed by the FTC, to settle allegations of privacy violations.

A few days ago, YouTube quietly announced plans to launch YouTube Kids as a separate site on the web, possibly a required move as part of an FTC settlement. The new YouTube Kids site doesn’t yet have a sign in option, but can still be monitored by parents, who will be able to see watch history and also flag content. On the new YouTube Kids site, parents will be able to choose content based on three different age groups: Preschool (ages 4 & under), Younger (ages 5-7) and Older (ages 8-12). Search results will be limited to content recommended for kids in whichever age setting.

The highest monetary penalty ever imposed by the FTC for children’s privacy violations is a $5.7 million fine levied earlier this year on the operators of Musical.ly, a social video app that rebranded as Tik Tok after an acquisition by China’s Bytedance in 2017. A fine of up to $200 million would dwarf that by several multiples. In a statement to Politico, Josh Golin, who serves as executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood [a coalition leader amongst a group that complained to the FTC that YouTube violated children’s online privacy laws] said a fine in the $150 million to $200 million range is “the equivalent of two to three months of YouTube ad revenue.”


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