YouTube fined Ksh.17B for making money by collecting data on children


YouTube fined Ksh.17B for making money by collecting data on children
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of users are seen next to a screen projection of the Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

In Summary

  • According to Reuters, YouTube was accused of tracking viewers of children’s channels using cookies without parental consent.
  • The platform, owned by Google which is also under the parent company Alphabet Inc, would then allegedly use those cookies to deliver billions in targeted advertisements to those viewers.

Video-sharing service YouTube has reportedly been fined $170 million (Ksh.17 billion) over allegations of collecting personal information about children.

According to Reuters, YouTube was accused of tracking viewers of children’s channels using cookies without parental consent.

The platform, owned by Google which is also under the parent company Alphabet Inc, would then allegedly use those cookies to deliver billions in targeted advertisements to those viewers.

The penalty, which was announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday, will reportedly see about $34 million (Ksh.3.4 billion) of the amount sent to the New York attorney general’s office.

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with (federal law banning collecting data on children), the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement.

“Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The fine was in accordance with a law banning collection of information about children under 13 years old which was first introduced in 1998 before later being revised in 2013 to include cookies.

Responding in a statement posted on its blog, YouTube said it would henceforth “limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.”

The video service is also set to introduce YouTube Kids for children according to their age brackets and where “disturbing videos” would be excluded.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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