Four nonprofit groups seeking to protect kids’ privacy online asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate YouTube today, after back-to-back reports allegedly showed that YouTube is still targeting personalized ads on videos “made for kids”.
Now it has become urgent that the FTC probe YouTube’s data and advertising practices, the groups’ letter said, and potentially intervene. Otherwise, it’s possible that YouTube could continue to allegedly harvest data on millions of kids, seemingly in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act.
Targeted online advertising already oozes sleaziness, but targeting children is on a whole different level. There’s a reason you should keep a close eye on what your kids are watching on YouTube, and the various content rabbit holes YouTube’s algorithm can trap people in aren’t the only reason to do so. I’m not one of those extremists that believes YouTube is universally bad for kids – it all depends on what you watch, not that you watch – but that doesn’t mean I’m about to hand the remote control to my kids and leave the room.