What you need to know

  • The FTC is investigating YouTube for failing to protect children on the platform.
  • The investigation is in its late stages and started back in 2015.
  • YouTube's considered taking all children's videos off YouTube and moving them to YouTube Kids.

If it seems like there's a new YouTube controversy every week, you wouldn't be wrong. The video-sharing site has been under a lot of pressure lately for a variety of reasons, and on June 19, The Washington Post reported that YouTube is being investigated by the U.S. government "for its handling of children's videos."

According to people familiar with the matter, the FTC is investigating YouTube for complaints that it's not done enough to protect kids that use the service. On top of that, it's alleged that YouTube "improperly collected their data."

The investigation is said to be in its late stages, with the FTC starting to look into things as far back as 2015.

The FTC has been investigating YouTube about its treatment of kids based on multiple complaints it received dating back to 2015, arguing that both YouTube and YouTube Kids violate federal laws, according to the people familiar with the investigation. The exact nature and status of the inquiry is not known, but one of the sources said that it is in advanced stages — suggesting a settlement, and a fine depending on what the FTC determines, could be forthcoming.

YouTube's recently made changes to the way minors interact with the platform, including disabling comments on videos that feature children and not allowing kids to be featured in live-streams unless an adult is also present.

That might not be all YouTube does to cover its butt, though.

As the investigation has progressed, YouTube executives in recent months have accelerated internal discussions about broad changes to how the platform handles children's videos...That includes potential changes to its algorithm for recommending and queuing up videos for users, including children...

In fact, it's reported that YouTube has even considered removing all children's content from the main YouTube site and moving it over exclusively to YouTube Kids.

YouTube was considering moving all children's content off the service into a separate app, YouTube Kids, to better protect younger viewers from problematic material — a change that would be difficult to implement because of the sheer volume of content on YouTube, and could potentially be costly to the company in lost advertising revenue.

It's noted that a move like this is "highly unlikely," but the fact that YouTube is even considering it shows that it's serious about finding a way to solve this problem once and for all.

In a statement sent to The Washington Post, YouTube spokeswoman, Andrea Faville, said that the company considers, "lots of ideas for improving YouTube and some remain just that — ideas."

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