YouTube has announced that in addition to disabling targeted advertising on videos apparently intended for children, it will disable comments, live chat, subscriber notifications, Stories, and the ‘Save to Playlist’ function on all channels making content for kids.
These feature removals are part of the sweeping changes YouTube is enacting in compliance with its recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which fined it $170 million for collecting private data about underage users through its ad-targeting technology — a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
As YouTube revealed in September, the settlement mandates that YouTube creators individually designate each of their videos as made for kids or not made for kids. That change — which many creators worry could affect their revenues, given that targeted ads are vastly more lucrative than those that don’t rely on targeting — is now live.
“Creators know their content best, and should set the designation themselves,” YouTube wrote in yesterday’s announcement. “We will only override a creator designation if abuse or error is detected.”
In its defense amid a chorus of concern from kid-friendly creators, YouTube reiterated that it is continuing to seek clarity from the FTC with respect to guidelines about what precisely defines kid-directed content, and said it will announce new efforts to support its native ecosystem of family content in coming months. The company is also initiating a push for targeted-ad-free YouTube Kids by running promotion for the app across all made-for-kids content on the flagship YouTube platform.
“We recently launched signed-in support for YouTube Kids on the web and connected devices — such as smart TVs — so parents can now access and control their child’s YouTube Kids experience across even more surfaces,” the company wrote.