The Latest: FTC official disputes criticism of Google fine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. fine against YouTube (all times local):

3 p.m.

A Federal Trade Commission official is disputing criticism that the FTC’s $170 million fine of Google is too small.

FTC consumer protection director Andrew Smith says the penalty is historic, although critics are complaining that it won’t deter future violations by Google, given that its parent Alphabet made a profit of $30.7 billion last year.

The FTC penalty settles allegations that Google’s YouTube video service collected children’s personal information without their parent’s consent.

Smith says the penalty is ground-breaking because it holds a social media platform liable for content hosted by someone else, and represents several times the revenue Google earned from the advertising involved.

The $170 million also is roughly equivalent to his consumer protection division’s entire budget for a year, he says.



Google’s video site YouTube will limit data collection on users who watch children’s programming on its main site, even if the user’s an adult.

Google already does that on its kids-specific site, YouTube Kids.

The policy change comes as the Federal Trade Commission and New York state fined Google $170 million combined to settle allegations it collected children’s personal data without their parents’ consent.

Content identified as children’s programming on YouTube’s main site will not offer features like comments and notifications and won’t serve personalized ads. Those sharing the video will have to identify children’s programming as such. The service will also use artificial intelligence to flag content that targets children.

Google says the changes will happen in four months to give family and kid creators a chance to adjust.

Meanwhile, Google says it will promote YouTube Kids with a new marketing campaign.


10:35 a.m.

Child advocacy groups that helped spark a government investigation of YouTube say the outcome doesn’t do enough to protect children.

YouTube owner Google will pay the Federal Trade Commission $136 million and New York state $34 million to settle charges of violating children’s online privacy. It’s also agreed to changes to its business practices.

Two groups whose complaint helped trigger the FTC’s investigation say they’re pleased the settlement may reduce the amount of behavioral advertising targeting children on YouTube.

But the groups say Wednesday’s settlement falls short in holding Google responsible.

The groups — the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy — also say it shifts too much of the burden from YouTube to those who create videos for the service.


9:15 a.m.

The Federal Trade Commission is fining Google’s video site YouTube $136 million to settle allegations it collected children’s personal data without their parents’ consent.

Google will pay an additional $34 million to New York state to resolve similar allegations brought by the state’s attorney general.

The fine marks the largest the FTC has leveled against Google, although it’s dwarfed by the $5 billion fine the agency imposed against fellow tech giant Facebook earlier this year for privacy violations.

The FTC found that YouTube violated a law that requires parental consent before companies can collect children’s personal information.

YouTube has said its service is intended for ages 13 and older, although younger kids commonly watch videos on the site and many popular YouTube channels feature cartoons or sing-a-longs made for children.