YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

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Skyquake87
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YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Skyquake87 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:36 pm

Been watching with interest the developments around this. It's basically the latest round of things large digital companies are doing wrong, that are only now being belatedly addressed. In brief, YouTube has been found to be in breach of the Child Online Privacy Protection rule by collecting data on minors which is then used for targeted advertising.

Their response to this has been that they will flag and restrict any videos with content that may appeal to children. More importantly, creators will also need to do this themselves, because if they don't, they'll risk a fine of up to $42,000 per video found to be in breach of COPPA, by the FTC. This obviously has huge implications for creators and communities like ours, who collect and discuss what are basically toys (even the ones that say 'Adult Collectibles').

I've watched a few videos from the likes of Pixel Dan about this subject and it's something of a sad time for the platform. I don't think that anyone will disagree that children shouldn't be protected from data mining to sell to advertisers, it's just a shame that as well as being an unhelpfully vague ruling, it will limit the one thing that was neat about YouTube - the ability to comment and interact with others in the YT community.

Personally, I think it's interesting that YouTube have basically said 'this is too big for us to police, so creators will be liable for their content'. This strikes me as a much more honest approach than Facebook have taken, but the fines that can be levvied against individuals by the FTC seem to be ruinous - and deliberately so - to the extent that I wonder if we'll be looking at a sharp curtailing of YouTube as we move into the new year.

I don't really know enough about the IT specifics of how alogorithms work, but would have thought that with a broadcasting platform like YT, they might have thought better about linking ads to the content of the videos, rather than the demographics of the user base - or am I just being naieve and silly here?

Thoughts?

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Clay
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Re: YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Clay » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:49 pm

It was fun while it lasted...

Can't say that I've kept up with it, but this in combination with letting companies copy-strike anything they want and also getting to be their own arbitrators on appeal makes it seem like more trouble than it's worth to make videos about any sort of media. Fair use? What's that?

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Denyer
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Re: YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Denyer » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:00 pm

The trouble is, the limited good stuff is built on a deep foundation of bad. And a lot of people have taken YouTube to be a business model that won't disappear tomorrow rather than at best (and ironically) an ad board to point people towards their own online presence.

Google doesn't deserve sympathy. Google knows exactly what's it's doing with this as a strategy to see if outrage can win it any concessions, whilst simultaneously trying to keep everything from autopsies to Thomas the Tank Engine in one content bucket and, as you say, clinging to selling advertising as much based on viewers as content -- in a nutshell, the situation is YouTube breaks laws and throws users under a bus. It's responsible for abetting political interference, paedophilic content, violent radicalisation and more as well as the run-of-the-mill mass copyright infringement 99% of its users are in favour of, and is committed to an inherently unethical business model.

Even if management did develop ethics, Google is to an extent beholden to shareholders. It's unlikely it could throw away the chunk of its net worth predicated on profiling end users, or not be required to fight attempts to curtail that profiling.

Much more broadly, toy reviewers are collateral damage of the US gradually tearing up lawful/constitutional speech whilst giving various reasons and excuses for sticking that into law. In particular Section 230 protections and as already seen with SESTA/FOSTA -- with wreckers having the advantage of a large demographic of religious nutjobs to wind up and point towards overly-simplistic, overly-broad legislation. However, it's easy to swell even that demographic by rallying politicians of other stripes (fake news), bi-partisan groups (COPPA and think of the children) and parties benefiting from disruption on every side of an issue (Russia/China). The arguments are increasingly over what gets censored rather than the dying principle.

Despite the convenience factor, an internet with a handful of ahead-of-the-pack entities such as Google Search, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc isn't healthy. Nor is audiences of hundreds of millions being polarised for ad dollars.

And an endgame position of prohibiting targeted and cross-site advertising isn't necessarily a bad thing -- it won't be as big a market, but if the more pernicious version is kept from existing, companies aren't going to shy away from advertising altogether.

Bonus content; people don't scale -- http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2004/03 ... _numb.html

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Re: YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Warcry » Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:37 pm

As a parent this is kinda disappointing. Youtube was a pretty good resource for finding for the cartoons my kid wants to watch all in one place. And while there's certainly a ton of advertising, Youtube's algorithm-targeted stuff actually seems to be less effective than the blind-targeted adds on regular kids' TV broadcasts. It seems like they're usually trying to sell him Toyotas and Sodastreams, not kids' stuff that he'd realistically want. So if I want to let him watch TV for an half hour while I'm making dinner, we can just let him fire up YouTube and look up any of the half-dozen or so things he likes to watch. Obviously we still need to monitor what he's watching, but we didn't have to worry about him dragging us out of the kitchen to help him find a different website or app because he decided to watch a different show every ten minutes.

BUT...
Denyer wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:00 pm
The trouble is, the limited good stuff is built on a deep foundation of bad. And a lot of people have taken YouTube to be a business model that won't disappear tomorrow rather than at best (and ironically) an ad board to point people towards their own online presence.
In spite of its ubiquity, YouTube is a REALLY bad platform to rely on. They've got a long and storied history of demonetizing people for no reason, banning harmless content for no reason, slashing payments to content producers, etc., etc., while making up excuses for doing nothing about Holocaust deniers, 911 truthers or anti-vaxxers. I feel bad for the people whose livelihoods are being effected by this, but no one should be surprised by it, and they probably shouldn't have tried to make YouTube their career.

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Re: YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Denyer » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:55 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46pNssn73eE

Fascinating -- YouTube and a number of very large/official channels having brought this about by crowing about having huge audiences of under-13s. And supports the initial reaction that beginning vids with '**** OFF KIDS' in flashing letters is likely to cover most bases.

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Re: YouTube and the FTC COPPA Act

Post by Mr_Hi_n_Mitey » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:40 am

Skyquake87 wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:36 pm
Been watching with interest the developments around this. It's basically the latest round of things large digital companies are doing wrong, that are only now being belatedly addressed. In brief, YouTube has been found to be in breach of the Child Online Privacy Protection rule by collecting data on minors which is then used for targeted advertising.

Their response to this has been that they will flag and restrict any videos with content that may appeal to children. More importantly, creators will also need to do this themselves, because if they don't, they'll risk a fine of up to $42,000 per video found to be in breach of COPPA, by the FTC. This obviously has huge implications for creators and communities like ours, who collect and discuss what are basically toys (even the ones that say 'Adult Collectibles').

I've watched a few videos from the likes of Pixel Dan about this subject and it's something of a sad time for the platform. I don't think that anyone will disagree that children shouldn't be protected from data mining to sell to advertisers, it's just a shame that as well as being an unhelpfully vague ruling, it will limit the one thing that was neat about YouTube - the ability to comment and interact with others in the YT community.

Personally, I think it's interesting that YouTube have basically said 'this is too big for us to police, so creators will be liable for their content'. This strikes me as a much more honest approach than Facebook have taken, but the fines that can be levvied against individuals by the FTC seem to be ruinous - and deliberately so - to the extent that I wonder if we'll be looking at a sharp curtailing of YouTube as we move into the new year.

I don't really know enough about the IT specifics of how alogorithms work, but would have thought that with a broadcasting platform like YT, they might have thought better about linking ads to the content of the videos, rather than the demographics of the user base - or am I just being naieve and silly here?

Thoughts?

None of this surprises me anymore. Ever since YOUTUBE went Corporate with GOOGLE, they started amping up their rules and going on power trips since. Soon, no one will be able to use YOUTUBE, and everyone will be using new platforms that are in some ways similar but still very different from YOUTUBE. It's going to happen sooner or later. After all, YOUTUBE as a company is entitled to do almost whatever they want. :eek:

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