My understanding of the current situation with Youtube and COPPA is that Google was collecting private data (comments, viewing history, email addresses) about kids, which is a clear violation of COPPA. It has nothing to do with the content of the videos the kids watched.

With this in mind, wouldn't an uploader, besides the obvious income and channel functionality restrictions that come with it, set all their videos as "Made for Kids" so as to avoid the $42,000 fine for collecting data on kids whether the videos are actually made for kids or not?

What I'm getting at, if it's not clear, is that I think youtubers who make grey area content will be incentivized to say more of their videos are for kids than actually are. Say for example I make adult-oriented parody animations about obviously child-oriented intellectual properties. The parodies are within Youtube's ToS, but they're not appropriate for children. Maybe for example it's Mario swearing or Sonic doing drugs. I may be afraid of the gigantic fines, and mark all my videos as "Made for Kids" so an FTC algorithm or entry-level employee doesn't bankrupt me.

It seems like the penalties for getting it wrong in each direction are very asymmetric. Marking a video as "Made for Kids" when it didn't need to be seems to just hurt your income; at worst it'd be a ToS violation. Marking a video as "Not Made for Kids" when the FTC disagrees could be a $42,000 fine on top of a ToS violation.

Am I correct?

  • Of course, for many businesses, being kicked off YouTube may mean a financial hit many times bigger than $42,000. Nov 22 '19 at 7:18
  • @NateEldredge But the $42,000 fine isn't the only punishment you'd get. You would get both the fine from the FTC per video, AND YouTube would ban you. Getting it wrong in both directions is a ToS violation, but only marking a kids video as "Not Made for Kids" also carries a fine.
    – Ryan_L
    Nov 22 '19 at 16:47

If you are specifically interested in Youtube, a Made for Kids label disincentivizes uploaders, because in response to a Made for Kids designation, YT blocks data collection (therefore revenues go down), and comments are disabled. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing for everybody. The same rule applies to anyone hosting their own videos: if the material is directed at children, you need verfiable parental consent in order to collect data.

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