YouTube has been fined $170 million in a settlement fee after the Federal Trade Commission accused its parent company Google of using the website to collect personal data from children under 13 years of age without parental consent.
The fine breaks the record for the largest sum collected from a 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violation penalty. The act requires businesses to get consent from parents before it can collect any data on children under the age of 13.
YouTube “touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients” yet, in the face of COPPA, it “refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids,” according to the FTC.
As a result of the settlement, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote a blog post saying that the company will now “treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.”
YouTube also said it’ll disable all targeted advertising on videos aimed at children. “We know how important it is to provide children, families and family creators the best experience possible on YouTube,” Wojcicki said. “And we are committed to getting it right.”
$136 million of the sum will go to the FTC, with the remaining $34 million going to the state of New York. The previous record COPPA fine was $5.7 million that was paid out by video sharing platform TikTok.