Huge changes were made on YouTube today regarding kid's content that EVERY creator needs to act on. Find out how COPPA will affect your YouTube channel and content settings from now on.
Today, YouTube announced official changes to the way it treats kid’s content on the platform, and how those changes affect every single creator. Whether they publish child-focused content or not.
We wrote about the devastating impact the September 2019 FTC decision would have on YouTube creators who publish kid's content, and now in a new video (see below), the Head of Family Partnerships at YouTube confirmed how these changes will affect the upload process, your existing library of content, and “potentially” the way you monetize that content. The changes come into effect after YouTube settled with the FTC over the platform's COPPA Rule violations. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a 1998 U.S. law created to protect the privacy of children under 13. Under the law, digital entities are restricted from collecting personal information from users aged under 13 without the express permission of their parents or guardians.
COPPA and YouTube: 11 Things Creators Need to Know Right Now
#1 How does the new COPPA law affect me as a YouTube Creator?
In order to help you comply with the law, YouTube now requires you to mark all of your videos as made for kids or not. The platform has rolled out a new audience setting that lets you tell it whether your videos are made for kids or not. YouTube is using machine learning systems to help them find content that is clearly made for kids. But, it advises creators NOT to rely on that method as it’s not perfect.
#2 As a creator, will I really face a fine of over $42K if I don't comply?
Potentially, yes. Under COPPA, the FTC is entitled to seek around $42,000 for each mislabeled video. If your entire channel is comprised of content aimed at kids that's going to a huge monetary penalty.
#3 What if I don't label my content as aimed at kids?
If you don't set your own audience or if YouTube detects any sign error or abuse, it has warned that it may set your audience for you.
#5 How do I update my Audience settings at video level?
To confirm whether previous uploads are content that was made for children, 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.
#6 How do I update my Audience settings at 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.
__#7 What is considered as “Kid’s Content” anyway?: __
YouTube stated that when deciding whether your video content is aimed at kid’s or not, consider the following:
What is the subject matter of your video?
Whether children are your intended audience for the video
Whether the video includes child actors or models
Whether the video includes characters, celebrities or toys that appeal to children, including animated characters or cartoon figures.
Whether the language of the video is intended for children to understand
Whether the video includes activities that appeal to children
Whether the video includes songs, stories, or poems that appeal to children
__#8 How old is a kid under the new rules? __
In the US, it’s anyone under 13.
__#9 If I set my content as made for kids, what does this mean for my channel? __
YouTube clearly states that if your video content is aimed towards children, the platform now HAS to start limiting the data it collects on these viewers. It will also remove features including:
Personalized ads (so some creators may see a decrease in revenue).
The ability for viewers to save videos, watch them later, or save to a playlist.
#10 What happens if YouTube thinks my video was made for kids but I disagree. Can I appeal?
You have the option to send feedback to YouTube on this.
__#11 What happens if creators mark their video's audience incorrectly? __
This will result in compliance issues under COPPA and may “result in consequences for your channel or videos.”
Stay tuned for more information on this topic from vidIQ.
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Carla Marshall is the Head of Content Marketing at vidIQ. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.