YouTube to Update its Harassment and Privacy Policy Regulations

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 25, 2021

YouTube is undergoing preparations for major policy changes again, as their online harassment and children privacy regulations will get a lot stricter soon. The video platform wants to put an end to online bullying and toxic comments that some users use against others, creating a friendlier environment for everyone to enjoy. In regards to the children, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has specifically requested YouTube to apply the protections that are foreseen in the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), and they have a few more weeks left to comply.

Starting with the harassment, the platform makes it clear that they will no longer accept content that insults someone based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. No one will be exempted from this rule, no matter whether it’s a large organization, a successful YouTuber, or a public official. Once the platform receives and confirms threatening messages in posts, they will be removing them promptly while also placing the offender on the watchlist. If the same thing happens again, the user who violated the platform’s policy will be suspended from the YouTube Partner Program, meaning that they won’t be able to make money out of videos on the platform anymore.

On the front of applying the COPPA provisions, YouTube has sent an open letter to FTC, expressing their confusion, concerns, and bewilderment. Long story short, they are asking for clarifications on what content should be considered as “made for kids”. This is a vague term that the FTC is using, and it could potentially have dire legal consequences for YouTube. Already, the platform has paid $170 million in a settlement agreement with the FTC, so they would like to avoid paying a $40k fine per infringing video from now on.

The creators are on YouTube’s side on this one, as the fines for infringing content would be rolled over to them. For example, there’s a petition that has already gathered 857k signatures, asking the FTC to reconsider COPPA regulations or at least provide some clarifications on how they will apply on YouTube. Creators fear that COPPA will shrink family-friendly content on the video platform, as everyone will fear to receive a violation penalty. At the same time, kids will turn to consume content that targets grown-ups, so the COPPA will be entirely bypassed and the whole purpose will be defeated.

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