WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s Attorney General announced a $170 million settlement with Google over charges that the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by showing targeted advertising in videos likely to be viewed by children. This is more than 30 times greater than the previous largest COPPA fine. The settlement requires all content creators to identify the age group of their target audience, assume any viewer of the video (including parents) are under 13, and prohibits any targeted advertising on those videos.

The following comment may be attributed to TechFreedom President Berin Szóka:

“By settling this case instead of litigating it, the FTC skipped all the hard work of considering. and minimizing, negative consequences of its remedy. This settlement will cut advertising revenue for creators of child-directed content by more than half. This will give content creators a perverse incentive to mislabel their content. COPPA was supposed to empower parents, but the FTC’s new approach actually makes life harder for parents and cripples functionality even when they want it. In short, artists, content creators, and parents will all lose, and it is not at all clear that this will do anything to meaningfully protect children.”

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We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on COPPA, including:

  • “COPPA 2.0: The New Battle Over Privacy, Age Verification, Online Safety & Free Speech”, a white paper by Berin Szoka
  • Our statement, “TechFreedom Files Comments on FTC’s COPPA Rule Review”
  • Our statement, “TechFreedom Urges FTC Not to Expand COPPA by Changing Definitions”