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YouTube videos for kids will reportedly stop getting targeted ads

The company has been scrutinized for its data collection practices.

YouTube may be putting an end to targeted ads on kids' videos. 
Angela Lang/CNET

YouTube will stop running targeted ads on videos aimed at kids, according to a Tuesday news report. Officials at the video sharing site are currently finalizing the plans, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. 

The US Federal Trade Commission began investigating whether YouTube violates children's online privacy laws following calls from consumer privacy groups and politicians. The advocates asked the FTC to look into whether the site's practices go against the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, or COPPA, a federal law regulating user data collection from sites with users under 13 years old.

Google, YouTube's parent company, reportedly reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the FTC last month. The investigation found Google improperly collected children's data and breached COPPA, according to a report by The Washington Post. It's not clear whether YouTube's decision to end targeted ads is because of the settlement, Bloomberg reports, and its plans to do so aren't set in stone.

Because targeted ads involve collecting information about a user, gearing them toward kids under age 13 without parental consent is essentially a violation of COPPA. YouTube's decision to eliminate targeted ads could result in an immediate loss in ad sales, according to Bloomberg. 

YouTube has been criticized for failing to quickly take down videos featuring disturbing content aimed at children. It's since cut off advertising revenue from inappropriate videos and added 10,000 content moderators to review objectionable content. YouTube also rolled out stronger parental controls, allowing adults to choose the videos and channels their kids can access. In addition, the company disabled comments on videos with minors and restricted younger minors from livestreaming without an adult.  

Google and the FTC declined to comment. 

Originally published Aug. 21 at 2:24 p.m. PT.
Update, 2:40 p.m. PT: Adds that the FTC declined to comment.

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