YouTube News: Comply with COPPA - change this setting NOW!

This post contains a setting that all creators need to implement ASAP!

What’s up Tubebuddy party people? Many, many apologies for the gap in coverage from me on this blog recently. As I previously covered, the Creator Insider team actually took a hiatus for the second half of October, and then I’ve been super sick and had some things on the back-end for this month but WE’RE BACK! I’m covering today’s important topic here and then I’ll get you caught up on the rest of the news we missed in a future blog post.

Lauren, head of family partnerships at YouTube, hosted a new video on the YouTube Creators channel today, discussing changes that all creators need to implement in order to comply with the new COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) guidelines that were enforced upon YouTube as a result of a FTC settlement earlier this year.

All creators are now required to fill out a new “Audience” category for videos, indicating whether the content is “made for kids” or not. YouTube will also supplement this manual audience flag with machine learning to help detect content clearly made for kids as a backup - but creators should not rely on this, creators need to manually categorize their videos.

This setting can be accessed by clicking the “Settings” cog on the left of the Studio Beta, then clicking “Channel” and then the “Advanced Settings” tab. You can set this channel-wide or per video.

Creators can set this at a channel level here, if you know every video you make is or isn’t made for kids, and will apply to every video on the channel. Otherwise, it can be set at every video - but this requires going back and setting it on your entire back-catalog. You can still manually flag videos as differing from your channel-level setting, if needed. Channel-level setting automatically applies to newly uploaded videos, too.

What content is “Made for Kids”?
Creators should consider if children are the intended audience, if the video includes child actors or models or characters, celebrities, or toys that appeal to children. Basically, consider if the subject and content of the video appeals to children, specifically. 

What’s interesting to note here, is that Lauren states that YouTube “cannot provide legal advice” or determine if content is made for kids. This puts the entire burden of this declaration on the individual creators of every video - and as a result, the consequences of mis-categorizing and violating COPPA. This is a big deal.

How old is a “kid”?
A “kid” in the U.S. is anyone under the age of 13, but other countries may legally classify kids as older.

What about non-U.S. creators?
COPPA generally applies no matter where you live. Every creator needs to comply. 

What is the impact on “Made for Kids” channels?
YouTube will treat Made for Kids content differently. They will no longer be tracking data on that content. As a result, some features such as comments will no longer be available on those videos. Those videos will also not show personalized ads - which are the most profitable ad types for YouTube - meaning all kids content creators will see serious declines in revenue as a result of this change.

Starting in January, comments, info cards, end screens, and personalized ads will be removed from individual videos flagged as Made for Kids.

Channels categorized at the channel level as Made for Kids will also lose Stories, Community tab, Notification bell, and the viewers’ ability to save videos to playlists or Watch Later playlist. 

I understand that these changes are implemented to follow the law, but this really just puts all of the nails in the coffin at once for kid-centric content creators, and that’s terrifying to consider.

Can I appeal “Made for Kids” flags on videos if I disagree?
Creators who disagree with manual changes set to Audience categorization can click “Send Feedback” to try to appeal this decision.

What are the consequences for filing videos incorrectly?
Lauren skirts around answering this. Creators would be in violation of COPPA - which according to the FTC, would mean a civil penalty of up to $42,530 per violation if taken to court. Plus, channels found abusing the system will likely be suspended or terminated by YouTube.

You can read more about these changes in the Help Center article.

Tech educator, '90s and '00s Nostalgia Nerd, Pixel and Framerate Junkie. 12 years on YouTube is a loooong time.

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