YouTube reportedly collecting and sharing children’s viewing history to personalise ads

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New Delhi | April 10, 2018 7:22 PM

YouTube explicitly recommends that the user needs to be above the age of 13 in order to use the platform in its Terms of Service.

YouTube has a separate app called YouTube Kids that primarily segregates the adult content to show the kid-friendly videos

The recent times have urged people, as well as regulators, to pay attention to the information that is being shared with the online websites and apps. While Facebook CEO is preparing to appear before the congressional debate in the US over the recent data misuse scandal, Google is not quite aloof from it. Google-owned YouTube has been alleged to have violated the children’s online privacy law in the US by collecting their viewing history to sell ads.

A consumer advocacy group in the US has filed a complaint against the video-sharing platform owned by Google, that it broke the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of the US, which requires an online service, YouTube in this case, to be permitted by parents or guardian before collects any data of children aged 13 years or younger, reports The New York Times.

YouTube has a separate app called YouTube Kids that primarily segregates the adult content to show the kid-friendly videos, in addition to restricted targeted advertising. However, despite that, a lot of young users access the regular YouTube app anyway.

Interestingly, YouTube explicitly recommends that the user needs to be above the age of 13 in order to use the platform in its Terms of Service. However, the group is not convinced with the way these terms are mentioned on the website and that they aren’t conspicuous enough for the kids to take the note of. It believes that YouTube should do more to make the parents and guardian aware of the policies over data collection for advertising purposes.

YouTube told NYT that it would look into the matter and see if “there are things we [it] can do to improve.” But at the same time, the company reiterated that the regular YouTube app is not for the users below the age 13. These users should instead go to YouTube Kids that features content tailored specifically for the age group. It also has stricter parental controls.

To cope up with this issue, YouTube is now reported to be working on an entirely curated YouTube Kid version that will feature the videos and channels that will be handpicked by human moderators.

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