This topic has been circulating a lot these days and everybody is anxiously waiting about the current news on it. Many creators on YouTube in USA are talking about it. The issue started and got highlighted recently when YouTube got fined $170 M by FTC for not following the laws. FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is a US department that protects consumer rights. Talking about consumer, a video viewer is also a consumer.
How do YouTubers Earn?
YouTube and Google are American companies under the Alphabet Company. We are all aware of that YouTubers upload videos and viewers view them. Ever wondered how it makes them earn a bunch? They earn through the advertisement videos that come between the videos or at that start of it. So, the advertisements are what makes them earn.
Why did FTC fine YouTube?
The ads shown on YouTube are personalized. Being more clear, YouTube is tracking on you; your interests, channels you watch, time at which you watch etc. The app has got all the information. On the basis of this information, ads are shown to you. This makes sure you only get to see ads of the stuff you seem to be interested in. The law by FTC says that if a viewer is 13 years old or less, don’t grab his/her information.
Chairman FTC, recently debating on this, said that YouTube has been placed under the companies that have to act on the COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act). These are the points he highlighted:
- FTC imposes substantial monetary judgement of $170 M on YouTube.
- Orders to notify channel owners of their potential COPPA obligations.
- Develop a system or mechanism through which channel owners must identify their child directed content under YouTube platform so that such content can be treated in COPPA complaint manner.
In case the above mentioned requirements are not fulfilled, they will be fined.
What is going to change for the channel owners?
After this, YouTube owners agreed. Now recently, before you upload a video on YouTube, it asks you whether your content is of the interest of a person aged above or below 13 years. If you mention that your viewers can be of the age 13 years and below, your ad revenue will be cut. Personalized ads will not be shown on that video.
Most of the income for the YouTubers comes from the personalized ads. 70-80% of the video ads are personalized ones. You know what does that mean. This means that if a person earns $1000 a month his income will be reduced to $100 or $50 in no time. If FTC will not revert this back, YouTube is going to become a dead place soon.
YouTube informed their users by making a video in which they told them about the new audience-related setting and that they will use machine-learning systems to help find content clearly made for kids. At the same time, they said that don’t rely on their systems to set content because like all automated systems, it is not perfect. However, the said that if they detect any abuse or error they may set the audience for the creators. In most cases, however, the creators’ audience settings will be relied.
What is wrong with the FTC COPPA policy?
Due to this new law that will be passed till 1st January 2020 by FTC, YouTube will have to make an algorithm to detect which video is for children and which is not. The passing of this law had been delayed for 4 months i.e., until January 2020.
The question arising here is that what if the channel is of the game call of duty or some family content that both adults and 13 years old children are interested in? Also, you never know what a 13 years old is interested in these days. The interest range of a 13 years old is pretty wide in this era. There is a girl on YouTube who says she likes dolls collection and this is what she shows in her videos. For sure, the purpose of her videos is not to attract a 13 years old only. Due to this, channels like this will also be considered for 13 years old ones and their ad revenue will be cut. Not just that, even if the algorithm detects some sort of music or some pinkish colors, anything a child may be interested in, the ad revenue of that channel will be cut. There are multiple family contents and DIY videos on YouTube that a 13 years old maybe interested in but at the same time, the video is not basically just made for him/her. This will affect millions of businesses that YouTubers are running based on their income. No doubt, YouTube based income is the bread and butter to many of the YouTubers.
YouTube already had the app YouTube kids for the child related stuff then what is the need of doing all this? Thus, understanding the consequences after the law is passed, many big YouTubers are coming forward and talking about this.
How can this be stopped?
There is a comment box on FTC’s website. FTC gets the public opinions before they pass a law. You can comment there to let them know of your opinion about this absurd law with a lot of grey areas.