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FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US


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YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations.

The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now the FTC is asking for comments on whether COPPA needs to be updated.

Here’s the question that jumped out at Music Ally, in relation to YouTube and TikTok: “Does the Rule correctly articulate the factors to consider in determining whether a website or online service is directed to children, or should additional factors be considered?” asked the FTC. “For example, should the Rule be amended to better address websites and online services that may not include traditionally child-oriented activities, but have large numbers of child users?” That absolutely has implications for the two services we mentioned (the FTC didn’t name any specific services) as well as Instagram, Fortnite and a host of other properties that aren’t *for* kids (and in many cases specify that 13 is the minimum age limit) but which attract lots of children anyway. “Should the Commission modify the Rule to encourage general audience platforms to identify and police child-directed content uploaded by third parties?” is another question the FTC wants comments on as part of the consultation.

Stuart Dredge

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