Google’s YouTube agreed on Wednesday to pay a US$170 million fine and limit ads on kids’ videos to settle claims that the company violated children’s privacy laws.
The world’s largest video-sharing site agreed to pay the fine, which is a record for a children’s privacy case, to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and New York State for failing to obtain parental consent in collecting data on kids under the age of 13, the FTC said. Starting in four months, Google also will limit data collection and turn off commenting on videos aimed at kids, YouTube announced at the same time, moves that will hamstring its ability to sell advertisement against a massive portion of its media library.
The settlement under the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, represents the most significant U.S. enforcement action against a big technology company in at least five years over its practices involving minors. Washington is stepping up privacy and antitrust scrutiny of the big internet platforms that have largely operated with few regulatory constraints.
“The US$170 million total monetary judgment is almost 30 times higher than the largest civil penalty previously imposed under COPPA,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a joint statement with fellow Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson. “This significant judgment will get the attention of platforms, content providers, and the public.