For years, Google has been collecting YouTube child viewing data – a violation of federal law – a coalition of 23 stakeholders claimed in a complaint filed Monday with the FTC.
YouTube said the complaint had not been reviewed But he said, "Read the complaint thoroughly and see if there are things we can improve."
"Because YouTube is not for kids, we've invested heavily in creating the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative, especially for kids," a YouTube representative said in a statement.
The groups – which include the Center for Digital Democracy, Common Sense Media and the campaign for a commercial free childhood ̵
"Google knows kids under 13 use YouTube" coalition of groups said in the FTC complaint on April 9. "However, Google collects and uses personally identifiable information from all YouTube users, including children under the age of 13, without notification or verifiable parental consent as required by COPPA."
The groups may see an opportunity to strike while the iron in D.C. to privacy issues is hot. Facebook has recovered from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and announced last week that data from more than 87 million users have been abused by the political consultancy firm that helped build Trump's 2016 campaign. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be calling out to Congress this week.
In their FTC complaint, advocacy groups claimed that Google makes huge profits by inappropriately selling ads by using data to target children. They called on the FTC to impose fines on Google that could cost "billions of dollars."
"Google has abandoned its responsibility to children and families for years by insincerely claiming YouTube – a site with popular cartoons, nursery rhymes, and toy ads – is not for children under 13," said CCFC Executive Director Josh Golin in a statement. "It's time for the FTC to hold Google accountable for its illegal data collection and advertising practices."
The FTC has not commented on the complaint.
It is not the first time that watchdog groups visit the FTC YouTube Advertising Practices for Children In 2015, a similar coalition, which included many of the same organizations, pushed the agency, the YouTube Kids app for suspected content, and To deceive advertising.
The Google Preferred Premium Advertising Program for YouTube includes a "parenting and family". Category includes popular channels for children. The advocacy groups have picked out two channels for top kids on Youtube: ChuChuTV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs (with 15.9 million subscribers and over 10 billion channel views) and LittleBabyBum (14.6 million subscribers with more than 14 billion views )
The FTC's complaint against Google was written by the University of Law and Technology at the Georgetown University Law Center at the Institute for Public Representation. The text of the complaint can be found at this link.
Groups joining the complaint with the FTC together with CDD and CCFC are: Berkeley Media Studies Group; Center for Media Justice; Healthy sensory media; Consumer Action; Consumer Association of America; California Consumers Association; Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports; Consumer Watchdog; Corporate Accountability; Defense of the early years; Electronic data protection information center; New dream; Commitment, Inc .; Parents' coalition for the privacy of students; Parents throughout America; Parents television advice; Privacy Rights Clearinghouse; citizens; The story of the fabric project; TRUCE (teacher against unhealthy childhood entertainment); and USPIRG