Google reportedly fined over children's privacy on YouTube

The FTC settlement is expected to cost Google millions, a report says.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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YouTube could pay the price for collecting children's data.

Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Google has reportedly reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over alleged violations of children's data privacy laws on YouTube. The settlement comes after an FTC investigation over whether the tech giant sufficiently protected the data of children using the platform, according to a Friday report from The Washington Post citing two people familiar with the matter. 

In June, it was reported that Google could face fines from a late-stage investigation by the federal government into YouTube's handling of children's videos. That report came the same day that YouTube said it was considering significant changes to protect its youngest content creators and viewers. This could include moving all children's content to the YouTube Kids app.

Watch this: YouTube accused of violating child privacy laws

According to the Post, the investigation found Google improperly collected children's data, a breach of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. However, the Department of Justice has yet to sign off on the details of the fine.

Google declined to comment, while the FTC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, US Sen. Ed Markey sent a letter to the FTC expressing concerns over YouTube's kids' content practices, asking the commission to "hold YouTube accountable for any illegal activity affecting children that the company may have committed." 

"Personal information about a child can be leveraged to hook consumers for years to come," Markey wrote in the letter. "It is incumbent upon the FTC to enforce federal law and act as a check against the ever-increasing appetite for children's data."

At the same time, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood also sent a letter to the FTC suggesting penalties for the video streaming giant. They recommended all children's data be deleted, civil penalties, plus "a $100 million fund to be used to support the production of noncommercial, high-quality and diverse content for children."