Top 10 Things You Need to Know About YouTube's New COPPA Compliance Changes
On January 6th, YouTube implemented changes to their creator channels as part of a settlement with the FTC. Creators are now tasked with self-identifying their content and their channels to ensure the content is, or is not, kid friendly.
Here are the Top 10 things you will need to know as a creator.
1)Self-Identification: Are you a kid’s channel? Do you have content made for kids? While this question can be open for interpretation, you’ll need to identify your audience for your channel or videos to show whether they are for children 13 and under, or not. While YouTube will be using machine learning to help users navigate content, YouTube advises users not to rely solely on this method; not only will you leave yourself open to the possibility of receiving hefty fines, but you may lose out on viewers who won’t be able to find your content.
2)What happens if I don’t self-identify? The FTC is entitled to fine channels and/or videos that are mislabeled $42,000+ for each mislabeled video. Channels that are unsure about their content are advised to speak with their legal teams. If you are flagged for having content that is mislabeled, you do have the chance to appeal through YouTube Feedback.
3)How do I go about updating my audience settings? There are two ways you’ll need to self-identify. That’s through your video level and through your channel level. If you’re a channel that doesn’t focus solely on kid content, you’ll need to remember to change the audience level for any video directed towards any audience that differs from your channels audience settings.
4)How do I change my audience settings at the video level? You will need to go to your ‘Videos’ tab in YouTube Studio, then select the videos you need to edit, then go to ‘Audience.’ On this page, you will now be prompted to answer this question every time you upload a new video. Of course, if you've already set your audience at the channel level, then this setting will be automatically selected for you.
5)How do I change my audience settings at the channel level? YouTube states that if you can confirm your entire channel features uploaded video that are either made for kids, or not made for kids, you can confirm this by going into ‘Settings’ in the YouTube Studio, then clicking on the ‘Channel’ tab, then on ‘Advanced Settings’, then go to the Audience’ section and choose an option that best describes your channel’s focus. By doing this, you will update the settings to all older videos and your new uploads too.
6)What exactly does YouTube Consider Kids Content? Again, this question can be open for interpretation, but anything aimed towards kids 13-years-old and younger is considered kids content. When deciding who the audience is, ask yourself these questions:
-What is the subject matter of your video?
-Who is your intended audience for the video?
-Does the video(s) include characters, celebrities or toys that appeal to children, including animated characters or cartoon figures?
-Is the language of the video intended for children to understand?
-Does the video include activities, songs, stories or poems that appeal to children?
7)If I set my content as “made for kids”, what does this mean for my channel going forward? YouTube clearly states that if your video content is aimed towards children, the platform now will now start limiting the data it collects on these viewers. It will also remove several features including:
-Saving videos and/or saving playlists.
8)What happens if my videos are marked incorrectly, by mistake? Any content that is mislabeled can result in a COPPA violation, which means fines for you and could result in the removal of your video or channel. The best way to avoid this is to make notes on every video you upload. You can always appeal a decision through YouTube Feedback.
9)Does this mean I will start losing revenue? It’s not all bad news for kid channels. The new changes do not affect your viewing audience. In fact, these new changes will make it easier for your audience to find your channel. The popularity of YouTube will not cease to exist overnight. If you keep your videos and your channels labeled correctly, the effect on your channel will be minimal.
10)Why is all of this happening anyway? While these changes were made after a settlement with the FTC, the good news is that YouTube will be a safer place for kids. With the creation of YouTube kids, along with channels self-identifying, you child can access YouTube without having their information collected, they will have less access to “Adult” content, and creators will have the ability to target their audience. While many of the rules can be open for interpretation, the best way to comply is to ensure your channel and your audience is marked every time you upload new content.
While these changes may seem like a lot of extra work, that may or may not cause your channel to lose viewers, it can also be great news for creators. Creators can now focus channels towards their specific audience which will make content easier to find. Eliminating superfluous channels will streamline the ability to search for kid content and kid creators are now protected from the collection of personal information.
If you are struggling to make determinations about your channel and/or videos' audience, please contact our ToyBox Team to help!