COPPA Commotion



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Adian Kline, Writer

In just a couple of weeks, the world will be launched into a whole new decade. With a new decade, there is a new outlook on things, hopefully for the better. Unfortunately, this year will kick off with a sour note. Youtube, the biggest video sharing company, is under fire right now from the FTC. 

Now, Youtube has had many controversies with things like the Ad-pocalypse, Youtube Kids content, and policy on monetizing videos, but they have finally made their huge mistake. Youtube has been fined 170 million dollars for going against COPPA. If you have seen this name buzzing around on Youtube, but don’t know what it stands for, it means Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. 

It was made in 1998 to protect kids under 13 from ads because it unethical to trick them with ads. So it means nobody can collect any information of kids to give to companies so they can sell ads. Now, to be on Youtube, you actually have to be over 13, according to the terms and conditions, to make an account. That’s why Youtube made Youtube Kids to keep younger people away from the main site. 

But the FTC found a little dirt that said otherwise. In an official document, COPPA cited a recent report, “Youtube was unanimously voted as the favorite site kids 2-11.” Not only that but saying 93 percent of tweens visit Youtube to watch videos. They keep digging themselves into a hole with channels like Barbies and Thomas and Friends that are basically fishing for kids.

Now, yes, this is all about kids, so why do high school students over 13 care? Well, it is because with this act, it will change a lot of YouTubers worlds. 

At this point, the new policy is very vague with what is aimed and what is not aimed for kids or not. According to FTC, if it has any activities that kids like, has a big audience that has kids, and includes characters, celebrities, or toys that appeal to children, it is deemed aimed for kids. This is a problem because anything similar to storytelling, gaming, vlogging, and animation can be seen to attract kids.

Even the language used or what the thumbnail looks like can affect the ruling on that video. Now, why this a big deal is because if the content is labeled kid-friendly YouTubers lose a lot of their targeted ads that make up to 60 to 90 percent of their money and will not be put on the recommended page. It is not okay to label them kid-friendly when it is seen as kid-friendly under COPPA. You can get fined around 42,000 dollars for each video that has this mark.

Because of this act, YouTubers will have a big shift with not being kid-friendly, but also not being too controversial.

Students here will see the effect and are concerned about how Youtube will change.

“It will be only bland uninteresting boring content that’s been filtered,” Shane McDaniel (23) said.

If people have to shift their content, then it could change the fanbase as well. Shane also said that creators he likes might get pushed out.

“Pewdiepie, Odd1’sout and CircleToon will have to change up their content and it will push people away,” McDaniel said.

In addition, another student has some worries about how it would affect their viewing on Youtube.

“I watch a lot of DIY or toy customizing video and it is meant for everyone, not just for kids, but if seen as kid-friendly they will probably take down their channel and I won’t be able to watch them. It is just annoying,” Olivia Pope (22) said.

Again, the scariest part of all of this is that it is already in action, it’s simply taking a while to roll out and for YouTubes algorithm to learn. We still do not accurately know how hard COPPA is going to hit videos or channels. Possibly some YouTubers will be wiped out or if they are lucky they will survive but have to change their content. 

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