According to Friday, the Federal Trade Commission voted to settle federal privacy taxes against YouTube a report from Politics. The exact terms of the settlement are unclear, but Google reportedly pays fines between $ 150 and $ 200 million. The costs stem from data collection and targeting practices on YouTube that consumer groups have allegedly violated the Children & # 39; s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Some details of the settlement were reported in July by The Washington Post, but were not finalized until today's vote.
YouTube was revealed on the same day as the vote a new web portal for YouTube Kids, along with a series of more demanding content filters. The platform has made a number of policy changes in response to the pending settlement in recent weeks, notably the introduction of an explicit ban on violent or "adult" videos that appear to be marketed in children. The video service has also banned targeted ads on children's videos, making the videos significantly less lucrative for creators and threatening a whole genre of YouTube content.
Reached through The edge, YouTube refused to comment on the news. The FTC did not respond to a request for comment.
The critics of YouTube responded with dismay to the fine and saw it as a blow to the wrist compared to the significant privacy violations that had been claimed. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), who had long insisted on investigating possible COPPA violations on YouTube, called the fine & # 39; a biased arrangement & # 39 ;.
"Again, this FTC seems to have set off a powerful company with a nominal fine for violating users' online privacy," Markey said in a statement. "We owe it to children to crack down on companies that violate children's privacy and violate federal law."
A number of privacy groups echoed that sentiment. "Under COPPA, the children's privacy legislation, the FTC had the power to impose tens of billions of fines on Google," said consumer interest group Public Citizen. “A fine of no more than $ 200 million completely fails to protect the rights of children. It does not adequately punish Google and does not deter Google or other companies from future violations. "
Similar concerns were raised in July, when the FTC imposed a $ 5 billion fine against Facebook for violations related to Cambridge Analytica and other data breaches. It was the largest FTC fine ever imposed on a technology company, but many Facebook critics found it insufficient in comparison to Facebook's $ 55 billion annual profit, with a legislator called the settlement & # 39; historic cave & # 39 ;.