YouTube channels and new FTC rules

  • SVS OG

    For those who have YouTube channels, are you concerned about the new FTC rules? A lot of the creator’s of kid’s book channels I follow seem to be freaking out right now. Seems the FTC fines could be quite hefty if you don’t designate your videos as being for kids (even if they are not) and they later find kid friendly material on it -like cartoon characters, or bright colours??
    I sense that there are going to be a lot of artist channels that could fall into that category - not directed at kids but containing kid friendly content.

  • Pro

    @MissMushy I honestly doubt it'll go that far. People are freaking out because the language is vague and could theoretically apply to a large variety of material that's not aimed at kids but merely kids friendly. I think the FTC is only giving themselves space so no kid material can slip through the cracks with a loophole. But as to the question of will they REALLY go after such channels? I doubt it. They're merely applying COPPA to a platform that had so far avoided it. If we look at how COPPA is applied to other media, it specifically targets material made for kids. COPPA exists to protect children's privacy, not to destroy all friendly material that exists ever. If you look at apps and shows aimed at a wide audience, mainly adults but is appropriate for everyone. The FTC has historically been lax in applying COPPA, dolling out fines for a handful of companies clearly breaking the rules, but leaving alone others that are walking a fine line. For examples games like Candy Crush or Angry Birds, aimed at a wide public but definitely kid friendly games, have been left alone by the FTC. Bringing Youtube into the fold of platforms that have to comply with COPPA is frankly an overdue move, but I don't see the FTC suddenly becoming hyper zealous in deciding what content to hit. As they say, the dogs bark but the caravan moves on. Everyone is freaking out a bit right now, and while it's a good idea to be cautious and stay informed, I really think it won't be as apocalyptic as people are making it out to be. This too shall pass 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration interesting. Good to know. Was worried that some faceless algorithms would be flagging my fave channels for fines.

  • Pro

    @MissMushy Not an unfounded fear! We've seen this just this year, when Youtube is the one liable for fines and consequences for infractions by their creators, then Youtube has one heck of a motivation to set up algorithms to work out the problem. This is largely what happened with Adpocalypse, and Youtube took immediate drastic action that likely cost them millions to implement. But it this case (unless I'm mistaken) it's the creators who are responsible and liable for fines. I think Youtube is very happy to let creators deal with that one themselves and let FTC police. They will likely not implement technology to purge their site of random content or flag creators (who bring them in money) for fines unless they're forced, and that's not what has been proposed so far.

  • Moderator

    @NessIllustration People are already having their videos changed to "intended for kids" by youtube, which means practically no monetization, and as of Jan 1st 2020 if your vid is for "kids" (by youtube and ftc standards, not your own) there will be no comments, no ability to share, no playlist saving, no recommendation, etc.

    Outside of the fine issue, it's going to strip people of an income.

    Anything that is "appealing to kids" can be switched to 'for kids" by youtubes algorithm, and if you label it as not for kids, but they find something appealing to kids in it, then that is where the issues really begin. Great one, social media lawyers take on it. Another good one.

    This isn't something to be taken lightly if it passes.

  • Pro

    @CLCanadyArts I may be mistaken, but my understanding was that Youtube isn't changing anyone's videos -that it would be the creators' responsibility to go through their videos and tick a box "for kids" on those videos. I've heard a bunch of creators complaining about the huge task of going through an archive of 500+ videos.

  • Moderator

    @NessIllustration I've already seen many videos of people upset because the new algorithm has already started switching their videos. It's brought up by the lawyer as well. Youtube is doing this voluntarily ahead of the ruling. Its crap.

    Now that brings up a concern of, if your video has something appealing to kids that is indeed intended for adults, but because it has keywords of visuals that are attractive to kids, youtube switches it, and then now there is something that is NOT for kids at all, marked for kids. Oh boy..

    Some things that would fall under "intended" for kids: Animation, children's characters, bright colors, snack food, celebrities, popular music, the list is vague and goes on.

    I highly recommend at least watching the lawyers video, its not stiff and boring. Worth the watch.

    The other link, that guy shows that youtube has already switched some of his videos, and he brings up some great points, especially about how things that are deemed for children often appeal heavily to adults. (MLP bronies for example).

    Self policing won't be enough. The FTC is out of touch with pop culture. It's doing to be dark times for youtube, if it passes, a lot of people will risk loosing their lively hood and more.

    Youtube has even come out to say that creators should seek a lawyer to make sure videos comply, how many small creators can afford that?

  • Pro

    @CLCanadyArts Well, if that's true that's indeed very concerning 😕 Creators and small businesses have it hard, things change all the time be it the market and people's buying habits, the systems they are relying on, the technology they depend on, laws, etc. Only those who can adapt can hope to survive the ever changing circumstances. It's really rough out there

  • Moderator

    @NessIllustration The lawyer came out with a new video that seems a bit more positive, but at the same time more bleak.

    It shows that in the COPPA language that COPPA rule exempts those from "general audience" which is things that appeal to both kids and adults alike, BUT youtube has left that option out, also never even spoke about it in their public briefing... So there is still an issue, especially with monetization. This new vis is really worth the watch.


    Age gate, and an added general audience option in between adult, and child, would fix all of this.

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