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.
The first report alleging YouTube’s noncompliance with federal laws came last week from Adalytics and was quickly corroborated by research from Fairplay, one of the groups behind the FTC letter, The New York Times reported. Both groups ran ad campaigns to test if YouTube was really blocking all personalized ads from appearing in children’s channels, as YouTube said it was. Both found that “Google and YouTube permit and report on behavioral ad targeting on ‘made-for-kids’ videos, even though neither should be possible under COPPA.”