YouTube Under Federal Investigation Over Allegations it Violates Children’s Privacy

The U.S. government is in the late stages of an investigation into YouTube for its handling of children’s videos, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing four people familiar with the matter, a probe that threatens the company with a potential fine and already has prompted the tech giant to reevaluate some of its business practices. From the report: The Federal Trade Commission launched the investigation after numerous complaints from consumer groups and privacy advocates, according to the four people, who requested anonymity because such probes are supposed to be confidential. The complaints contended that YouTube, which is owned by Google, failed to protect kids who used the streaming-video service and improperly collected their data. As the investigation has progressed, YouTube executives in recent months have accelerated internal discussions about broad changes to how the platform handles children’s videos, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. That includes potential changes to its algorithm for recommending and queuing up videos for users, including kids, part of an ongoing effort at YouTube over the past year and a half to overhaul its software and policies to prevent abuse.

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