The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Wednesday that Google has agreed to pay a record $170 million fine to resolve allegations that YouTube violated a federal children’s privacy law. The law that YouTube violated is known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.
Regulators allege the video site had illegally gathered personal data from children under 13 years old and used that information to inappropriately target them with ads on the platform. The FTC and the New York attorney general said Google-owned YouTube harvested kids’ information without their parents’ permission and then profited by targeting them with ads.
“Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in. These companies put children at risk and abused their power, which is why we are imposing major reforms to their practices and making them pay one of the largest settlements for a privacy matter in U.S. history,” commented New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement.
“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law,” said Joe Simons, Chairman of the FTC.
Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) has also promised to change its polices to prevent future violations of child privacy laws.
“We are changing how we treat data for children’s content on YouTube. Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service,” YouTube said in a blogpost.
Alphabet Inc Profile
Alphabet is a holding company, with Google, the Internet media giant, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Google generates 99% of Alphabet revenue, of which more than 85% is from online ads.
Google’s other revenue is from sales of apps and content on Google Play and YouTube, as well as cloud service fees and other licensing revenue. Sales of hardware such as Chromebooks, the Pixel smartphone, and smart homes products, which include Nest and Google Home, also contribute to other revenue.
Alphabet’s moonshot investments are in its other bets segment, where it bets on technology to enhance health (Verily), faster Internet access to homes (Google Fiber), self-driving cars (Waymo), and more. Alphabet’s operating margin has been 25%-30%, with Google at 30% and other bets operating at a loss. – Warrior Trading News
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