YouTube now requires all video content creators to disclose whether their content is directed at children – and that includes videos previously uploaded.
According to the video-sharing network, failing to classify videos accurately could lead to ‘compliance issues’ with authorities.
Why the change?
YouTube – a subsidiary of Google – has made the policy change after making a record $170million settlement with US regulators for allegedly ‘illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent’.
In a complaint filed against the companies, the US Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney had alleged that YouTube violated the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule on collecting personal information.
Under the rule, companies must obtain parental consent before companies can collect and share the personal information of children aged under 13-years-old. YouTube was accused of using cookies, which track users across the internet, on channels directed at children without first getting parents’ consent.
As part of the settlement, YouTube was ordered to force video creators to identify when their videos are targeted at children or not.
But I don’t live in the US?
Even though the settlement took place in the US, this will affect all YouTube creators worldwide. YouTube has made it clear that all YouTube creators must set their channel or video’s audience regardless of their location.
YouTube has introduced a new audience setting on YouTube Studio, where you can set your audience, either:
– At the channel level, which will set all of your future and existing content as made for kids or not. – Or, at the video level. If you choose this option, you’ll need to set each existing and future video as made for kids or not.
Sign in to studio.youtube.com. • On the left menu, click Settings. • Click Channel. • Click the Advanced Settings tab. • Under Audience, select: • “Yes, set this channel as made for kids. I always upload content that’s made for kids.” • “No, set this channel as not made for kids. I never upload content that’s made for kids.” • “I want to review this setting for every video.” • Click Save.
But what exactly is content for kids?
YouTube says it will follow the FTC’s guidance on COPPA to determine if a video made for kids, including if ‘children are the primary audience’ or the video is directed to children based on certain factors.
YouTube said it will use machine learning to help identify videos that are clearly directed to young audiences. It may also ‘override’ an audience setting choice in cases of error or abuse.
What else is important to know?
• To set your audience as made for kids, you’ll need to visit YouTube Studio – you won’t be able to do it in the Creator Studio Classic. • From January, YouTube will limit the data it collects on made for kids’ content to comply with the law. This means it will disable certain features, including comments and notifications. • YouTube also won’t serve personalised ads on kids’ content which may result in a decrease in revenue for some creators who mark their content as made for kids.
YouTube has also published a video explaining the changes.