Is Your Content in Compliance? New YouTube Standards Highlight COPPA Regulations

Arent Fox
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Arent Fox

YouTube has a new procedure in place for content with children as the target audience. Due to a recent FTC settlement, channel owners must determine if content is direct to children before publishing. If you are posting content to YouTube that is directed to children, you must ensure you are following the rules and regulations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

What prompted this change?

The FTC filed a lawsuit against YouTube, alleging that the company illegally collected personal information from children in violation of COPPA. In September, the FTC and New York Attorney General announced a settlement. As part of that agreement, YouTube will create a mechanism for channel owners to designate when videos are directed at children. This requirement ensures that both YouTube and channel owners are complying with the law.

What is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act?

According to the FTC, COPPA gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids. The COPPA Rule puts additional protections in place and streamlines other procedures that companies covered by the rule need to follow. The COPPA FAQs can help keep your company COPPA compliant. Learn about the COPPA Safe Harbor Program and about organizations the FTC has approved to implement safe harbor programs here.

How does this impact YouTube channel owners?

COPPA applies to YouTube content in the same fashion as a website or app. The agreement from the FTC lawsuit now requires all YouTube content to either be designated for or not for children. If your intended audience is children under 13 years of age, you are covered by COPPA and must follow its rules and requirements.

The FTC will consider the following factors when determining if your content is directed for children:

  • the subject matter;
  • visual content;
  • the use of animated characters or child-oriented activities and incentives;
  • the kind of music or other audio content;
  • the age of models;
  • the presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children;
  • language or other characteristics of the site;
  • whether advertising that promotes or appears on the website is directed to children; and
  • competent and reliable empirical evidence about the age of the audience.

What does this mean for business?

Businesses operating YouTube channels should act to review and update their settings. Failure to independently update a channel setting may result in YouTube imposing a classification on the channel.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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