FTC Settlement Forces Major Changes in Kid-Influencer Channels
A settlement in 2019 resulting in a multi-million-dollar fine from the FTC has forced YouTube to make major changes to satisfy COPPA laws, which forbids companies from collecting data and targeting users ages 12 and under. These changes have many young influencers nervous as it will affect the way creators self-identify, as well as their ability to stream videos, receive comments and benefit from personalized advertising. Another change that will affect creators is that viewers will no longer receive notifications about new content. Without this feature, content creators are concerned about a decrease in traffic which will obviously result in a decrease in earned revenue potential from advertising.
Creators will now have to identify whether their content is targeted towards kids. YouTube has rolled out a new list for creators to choose from to identify who their channel is targeted towards, which includes: characters, celebrities, toys, activities, cartoons, and several other factors to determine if the content is “kid-friendly.” Creators who choose not to self-identify leave themselves vulnerable to a lawsuit from the FTC as well as hefty fines.
YouTube has assured they are doing all they can to help protect creators as well as viewers. In a blog post created by YouTube they state, “We’re committed to helping creators navigate this new landscape and to supporting our ecosystem of family content.” This includes beginning heavy promotion of YouTube Kids, the app that focuses directly on young viewers 12 and under. This app filters out any content that is not intended for kids, as well as disables some of the community tab features regular YouTube users use to engage their audience. YouTube is recommending content creators to team up with their own legal counsel if they are concerned about any of the new changes.
This shift will leave brands looking to kid influencer marketing as a reliable source of access to a family audience interested in their products. As these changes continue to take shape, ToyBox Marketing and Management is committed to helping our content creators navigate these changes to ensure successful brand partnerships now and into the future.