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YouTube pledges $100m kids fund

YouTube has promised to put US$100m towards original children’s content over the next three years as part of its efforts to protect kids and their privacy.

Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki, CEO at the Google-owned platform, posted an update on kids and data protection on YouTube’s blog earlier this week.

Wojcicki said the fund will be “dedicated to the creation of thoughtful, original children’s content on YouTube and YouTube Kids globally.”

The move comes after the tech giant was fined a record US$170m by the US Federal Trade Commission to settle a lawsuit that charged it with violating children’s privacy on YouTube.

As a result, YouTube said it is changing how it treats data for children’s content and, in around four months, will begin treating data from anyone watching kids’ content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user.

“This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. We will also stop serving personalised ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications,” said Wojcicki.

“In order to identify content made for kids, creators will be required to tell us when their content falls in this category, and we’ll also use machine learning to find videos that clearly target young audiences, for example those that have an emphasis on kids’ characters, themes, toys, or games.”

Wojcicki added that it will increase its investment in promoting YouTube Kids to parents with a campaign that will run across YouTube.

“We know these changes will have a significant business impact on family and kids creators who have been building both wonderful content and thriving businesses, so we’ve worked to give impacted creators four months to adjust before changes take effect on YouTube. We recognise this won’t be easy for some creators and are committed to working with them through this transition and providing resources to help them better understand these changes,” said Wojcicki.

In the coming months, YouTube said it will share details on how it is “rethinking” its overall approach to kids and families, including a dedicated kids’ experience on YouTube.

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