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YouTube pays big for tracking kids

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Does your child love YouTube videos? Did you know that while little Susie was watching her favorite shows, YouTube was collecting data and using it to send her targeted ads? Under a settlement with the FTC, YouTube and its parent company, Google, must pay a record $170 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. 

COPPA is intended to give parents control over the online collection of their young children’s personal information. If you have a child under 13, websites and online services covered by COPPA must tell you about their data collection practices and get your permission before collecting information from your child.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that YouTube did not properly notify parents and get their consent before collecting and using their children’s personal information. Specifically, YouTube collected “persistent identifiers” – such as cookies that are used to track viewers over time and across websites – for advertising to children. For example, a toy company with a YouTube channel could set its account so that a child who visited its channel received ads for the company’s toys when the child visited another website. Such use of persistent identifiers to track children on child-directed websites without parental consent violates COPPA.

Besides paying $34 million to the State of New York and a record-setting $136 million COPPA penalty – which goes to the U.S. Treasury – YouTube must create a system for the channels on its platform to identify their child-directed content. Once the order has been implemented, viewers of that content will no longer be tracked for advertising purposes. The settlement also requires YouTube to provide COPPA training to employees responsible for managing YouTube channels. And YouTube must comply with the rest of COPPA’s requirements.

Keep in mind that the Commission’s complaint alleges that YouTube collected personal information from users of the main YouTube service. The case does not involve the YouTube Kids app, which does not track kids for advertising purposes.

For help talking with your kids about online safety, check out Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online. To learn more about your COPPA rights, read the FTC’s Protecting Your Child’s Privacy Online. And, if you think a company may have violated your COPPA rights, report it at

Changes coming soon to kids’ content on YouTube: 1) Creators must tell YouTube if content targets kids, 2) No tracking for ads (without parent’s consent), 3) Kids can’t comment (without parent’s consent). Source: Federal Trade Commission  |  |  FTC and NY Attorney General v. Google and YouTube


170 million.. Seems like this is a very light slap on the wrist to a company this large.

Fines will not work because they will not stop. Taking them out of business will stop them! What is wrong with our government to slap them on the wrist!

Thank you FTC for holding this companies accountable. They must be treated as AI children , so to speak, and you are guiding them through the moral and proper channels of integrity. Unfortunately, fines are the only thing that gets their attention.
Thank you Lisa for this information. May I forward this information to our adult children do that they may become aware of the caveats that loom when handing our grandchildren an electronic device.

You can always share information from the FTC. It's free and in the public domain.

Excellent. Good work.

Unfortunately, obtaining the permission to collect such information will be easy. Most people just click to Accept whatever it says, without reading it.

All that money and punishment in fines but none of it goes to the families of the information that was taken from our children. The money goes back to the government? SMH

This is appalling and if you want to shut them down then you must take action and have these businesses put out of business for good and am shocked that you tube is doing this to our kids what is wrong with our government now.

Google/YouTube will just find another way to get what they want.

Who is going to monitor this?

EVERY website wants to add cookies to our views. This is of course to track everything. Then, those companies sell what they learned. I see ads for items of my interest on every other website I visit. Some websites don't ask. But they ARE tracking.

Are you for real ?? That won't spot it … Make them shut down for 3 months that's how you get things done with those $$ Billion dollar company's choke they down. That will get their attention.

where is my money for them monitoring my kids? where does all this FTC money go?

YouTube will pay $34 million to the State of New York and a record-setting $136 million COPPA penalty to the U.S. Treasury.

this fine is completely insufficient to act as a deterrent. Multiply it by 100, and then, maybe, they will pay attention

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