Federal Trade Commission fines Google between $ 150 million and $ 200 million settle the entire debate with the YouTube subsidiary, which allegedly violates children's privacy laws, Politico first reported Friday.
While details of the settlement were not officially disclosed, a person familiar with the case told Politico that the measure received FTC approval with 3-2 votes along party lines, and it appears to confirm similar reports from the Washington Post last year month. After receiving FTC approval, the settlement would proceed to the Department of Justice for review.
Reports on the FTC's investigation of the online video platform originally appeared in June after several privacy groups claimed YouTube collected data on the youngest viewers without parental consent in an attempt to show them ads. This would violate children's privacy laws, which limit how companies can scrap data from users younger than 13 years.
News of Google's possible settlement comes just weeks after the FTC looted a $ 5 billion fine on Facebook after an investigation found the company compromised millions of people's personal information. Several politicians and advocates for privacy criticized this punishment as too mild, especially compared to Facebook's earnings (reportedly $ 15.08 billion in the first quarter of this year).
And these critics may have similar complaints if this settlement amount gets the FTC's official stamp of approval. Although $ 200 million is huge compared to penalties that the Commission has previously issued for similar violations, such as the $ 5.7 million fine it imposed earlier this year against TikTok, such an amount is dwarfed by Google's revenue. As a reference last year, the company raised over $ 100 billion in advertising alone.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that YouTube "quit plans" to cut targeted ads from videos targeted at children, per three sources Bloomberg spoke to.
In the wake of these privacy concerns, YouTube quietly announced this week that it is launching a website version of its mobile app aimed at children. This release will debut with three settings assigned to specific age groups and hopefully not be bothered by the disturbing videos that previously landed the YouTube Kids app in hot water. Bloomberg also recently reported that the company is "finalizing plans" to stop targeting ads to children, according to sources familiar with the case.