YouTube shuts down ads on video aimed at children
YouTube is to stop all comments and personalised advertising on videos aimed at children.
The move - seen as a major change in how youngsters are targeted on the internet - follows yesterday's announcement of a $170m (€154m) fine by US regulators against parent company Google over having improperly collected personal data on children and tracking viewers of children's channels using cookies without parental consent.
The YouTube action is an extension of its move earlier this year to ban comments from videos featuring younger children. That was part of an effort to deter online paedophiles from targeting kids by leaving coded comments.
The latest restrictions could financially hit so-called "influencers" who make videos aimed at children, because the videos won't be as lucrative without personalised advertising, comments and notifications.
"Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children's content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user," said YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki.
"This means we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.
"We will also stop serving personalised ads on this content entirely and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications."
Ms Wojcicki said YouTube will introduce measures to stop video-makers from evading the new rules.
"To identify content made for kids, creators will be required to tell us when their content falls in this category and we'll also use machine learning to find videos that clearly target young audiences, for example those that have an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys or games," she said.
Videos focused on child and teen audiences attract billions of monthly views, making some YouTube videographers millionaires through sponsorship and ads.
In Ireland, Co Meath woman Kelly Fitzsimons filed accounts last year showing €850,000 earned over a two-year period from her child- focused YouTube series 'Little Kelly Minecraft'.
"We know these changes will have a significant business impact on family and kids creators who have been building both wonderful content and thriving businesses," said Ms Wojcicki, who said the four-month delay was designed to give businesses time to adjust.