Is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) the reason you see that you are at least 13 years old? If you’re wondering why this agreement is so important, it’s because the U.S. federal government decided in 1998 that it was illegal to collect information about people under the age of 13 in online services. As noted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services for children under the age of 13, as well as operators of other websites or online services who are effectively aware that they are collecting personal information online from a child under the age of 13. As you can imagine, websites take this rule very seriously; Twitter even deletes accounts when it discovers you’ve been lying. The age of the account does not matter to them; if the user is younger than 13 years at the time of creation, he or she will delete the account. YouTube learned that lesson the hard way; about $170 million.

For the alleged violation of this rule, YouTube would have to pay $136 million to the FTC and another $34 million to New York. The reason for this expensive deal is that YouTube would have made millions by targeting viewers of children’s content. That was in September 2019, and now YouTube is making some changes to make sure it never happens again. Efforts to make YouTube more family friendly have wasted a lot of time and they are now working to tackle the problem quickly.

YouTube is working hard behind the scenes and recently announced new content management systems for its content creators. They will now ask the content creators to include their downloads or the entire channel as a target group for children or as a general audience. The authors of the content were satisfied until the second announcement raised two disturbing questions. These child-friendly channels and videos will not generate advertising revenue, they will only be children’s videos, and nothing more. This is a concern because advertising revenue is the primary source of income for YouTube content creators, which means there is no money and fewer opportunities to produce videos. This raises concerns about the second problem; YouTube is configured to automate the process of determining whether or not videos are placed in the right group. As their creators are already limiting themselves to preserving family content, they fear that these new guidelines will inadvertently label channels as child-centred, regardless of whether the content is intended for children or not. Some teenagers have already started, such as TV stations, posting messages at the beginning of their video stating that the next video is not for children.

Example of a video from Zi Bashew with a message from non-children

Captain Sparkles, also known as Captain Sparkles. After Jordan Maron makes a beautiful 20 minute tirade about what it all means, he and the other creators try to figure out what it all means, and even put on an aluminum hat to explain why he thinks it all sunk. Maron is particularly concerned about what will happen to channels such as hers, the content of which is generally suitable for children, but which are aimed at users aged 13 and older.

Moran speaks on behalf of many YouTubers; if YouTube decides to hand over power to its creators, who will stand beside the FTC? For more detailed information on games and techniques, as well as updates on the YouTube drop, make sure it’s turned on! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all video games!

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