COPPA is coming, and the future doesn’t look so bright for YouTube

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COPPA is coming, and the future doesn’t look so bright for YouTube

Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse via https://live.staticflickr.com/6177/6197755378_c4b9fa845e_b.jpg under the Creative Commons License

Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse via https://live.staticflickr.com/6177/6197755378_c4b9fa845e_b.jpg under the Creative Commons License

Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse via https://live.staticflickr.com/6177/6197755378_c4b9fa845e_b.jpg under the Creative Commons License

Photo labeled for noncommercial reuse via https://live.staticflickr.com/6177/6197755378_c4b9fa845e_b.jpg under the Creative Commons License

Lila Ulmer

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You type in the url you’re so familiar with by now. Youtube.com. Click, click, clack. You decide to visit your subscriptions page, only to find that you are bombarded by videos that are titled, “I Quit…” or “Goodbye YouTube”. You surf the internet in confusion, until you find the culprit; COPPA.

On November tenth, YouTube’s users got crazy and confusing news. Emails were sent out to creators addressing “changes” coming to the platform. Those changes could cause YouTubers to lose money, community, and freedom to post their own videos.

Google, which owns YouTube, was recently fined one-hundred seventy million dollars for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) They were fined because of collecting people under the age of thirteen’s information without parental consent. This act, established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), was taken into account by YouTube after the incident. Now, creators will have to label each and every one of their videos with whether they are child-friendly or not. They can do this from YouTube Studio. Note, there is no button for general audiences. You have to either be for mature viewers, or child-oriented.

If the creator is marked as “made for kids”, then on January first, they will lose many priorities. These include the notification bell, personalized ads, comments, live and premiere chat, stories, community posts, info cards, the ability to save their videos to a playlist/watch later, and end screens. All of these are important ways that a YouTuber can interact with their viewers, while still inside YouTube. Without personalized ads, a big chunk of revenue will be lost. 

What happens if you break these rules? A fine up to forty-two thousand dollars. Per video. It seems crazy, but it’s the law. People are not happy about this. Forty-two thousand dollars is the cost of two years and four months in a three bedroom apartment. That’s a lot.

Currently, there is a petition. At the time I am writing this, there are eight hundred thirty-three thousand supporters of the petition on change.org. It is titled “SAVE Family-Friendly Content on YouTube”. The creator of the petition, on change.org, is Jeremy Johnston. (If you want to sign, click here)

There are many people who say that this act, protecting children online, is nonsense. Or at least all the restrictions that come on the side. Taking away so many YouTube features is unnecessary. Parents should take responsibility for what their children do online. Parents should control the decision whether to use YouTube Kids (which is designed for, well, kids) or YouTube Main. Anyways, YouTube is supposed to be a thirteen plus platform. You have to check a box that says you’re over that age when you make an account. Yes, many people lie, but it’s still the parents responsibility to check their child’s online footprint.

When asked the question “What do you think about all the things YouTube is removing for family friendly channels, and COPPA itself?” None of the people who took a survey agreed with COPPA. One respondee said “It’s all just stupid and unnecessary.,” and, “ I know it can’t be gotten rid of completely, it’s a law, but they can tone down the restrictions a bit. If things are kept up like this, there could be no YouTube.”

Another person said, “They are taking business away from the family-friendly creators that deserve the money.” Most likely referring to the taking away of personalized ads and fines.

Eighty-seven point five percent of respondees said that they think the law will ruin YouTube. The other twelve point five percent said maybe. Everyone said that they want to stop COPPA. (Eight people took the survey).

If you look on YouTube, you can find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of videos addressing COPPA and the FTC. For now, all we can do if we don’t support this is protest online and sign the petition. We just have to wait and see what happens.