YouTube Kids is an app that Google created for kids as an alternative to the original version. Since the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), written in 1998, doesn't allow collection of data from children under 13, the new version was released.
However, a complaint filed by 20 child-advocacy accuses Google of illegally collecting data from kids through the YouTube Kids app. The accusers also asked the FTC to look into the matter and charge Google for its violations. The news comes just after it was reported that Google's is trying to make the YouTube Kids a safer experience for children to use on their own without adult supervision.
Earlier, many parents were upset with the fact that conspiracy theory videos about the moon landing hoax and the flat Earth theory, alongside other inappropriate videos, started appearing on the Kids app. In order to prevent such issues, Google will roll out a 'whitelisted' version of the app, which offers handpicked content instead of the content found by the algorithms as the app currently does.
The new version is yet to be officially announced, but there are reports floating around claiming that the launch is imminent.
In regards to the data harvesting, a Google spokesperson said, "Protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. We will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve."
What evidence do these child-advocacy groups have against Google is yet to be determined.
User's data privacy has become the talk of the town following the Cambridge Analytica revelations that involved collecting user data from Facebook with the consent of the users.
In turn, the social media giant announced that it will be shutting down its Partner Categories marketing product as the outcry over the recent data scandal swirls. The social media giant made the announcement in a post on the newsroom page, where it claims the move would "help improve people's privacy."
The Partner Categories platform is powered by third-party data providers such as Epsilon, Acxiom, Experian, and helps the clients to target Facebook users for the promotion of their products.