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YouTube will reportedly halt targeted ads for videos that appeal to kids

YouTube is “finalizing plans” to end targeted advertising on its main site for uploaded videos that children are likely to watch, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The move could be meant to appease regulators at the Federal Trade Commission who have examined whether YouTube has violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) through data collection and a failure to protect young users on the platform.

A study by Pew Research has found that videos featuring children under 13 receive on average three times as many views as other videos.

In July, it was reported that the FTC reached a settlement with Google over the matter, with YouTube’s parent company expected to pay a “multimillion-dollar fine.” But the exact terms of the settlement and fine remain undisclosed as the Justice Department looks over things.

YouTube has taken steps over the last year, such as closing comments on video clips starring children and limiting recommendations “on videos that it deems as putting children at risk,” but consumer groups have complained to the FTC that the company still isn’t doing enough. (YouTube has been surfacing family-friendly content higher in recommendations in recent weeks.) The company has been encouraged to move all children-focused videos away from YouTube proper to the separate YouTube Kids site and app. But the company (and creators) have said that such a drastic step could reverberate across the platform’s entire community.

As Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen notes, it’s not clear at what point videos would be determined to be aimed at kids, and the plan is already facing criticism over the difficulty that would come with enforcing it.

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