You may not know it, but YouTube’s future is becoming unclear. As of January 01, 2020, YouTube is about to impose radical changes on content creators around the world. Indeed, it is very sad to say this, but because of this new law, by January 2020, tens of thousands of creators may disappear and the landscape of YouTube might be changed forever.
Today we will tell you why we are at the end of numerous YouTube channels and what are the terrible threats to all youtube gamers on the platform? It is not a joke, it is not an exaggeration, the current situation of Youtube and especially of YouTubers is dramatic and it is important that as many people as possible be aware of all this.
A violation of COPPA law has altered the future of YouTube
What is COPPA?
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, COPPA is a US law enacted in 1998 and implemented in 2000 in order to protect the online privacy of children under the age of 13 whose personal data can be collected and used by online entities, the COPPA also necessitates parental permission for companies to gather and utilize data about children.
Under COPPA, sites cannot collect information about children without the consent of their parents, or at least without providing a means for parents to control what is collected.
How did YouTube violate COPPA law?
In April 2018, 23 digital rights and child protection organizations had filed a complaint to the FTC (The Federal Trade Commission). They accused YouTube of collecting personal information from minors (location, device used, telephone numbers) and using it for targeted advertising without parents’ knowledge. YouTube broke this law by consciously using the viewing history of kids under 13 in order to show them targeted ads, without taking the parental permission.
What about the costs of such a violation?
Google and its subsidiary YouTube, the two US giants were accused of breaking the law by exposing children to inappropriate videos or collecting their personal data. Thus, September 2019 marked the coppa FTC fine, a $170 million fine brought by the Federal Trade Commission against YouTube for breaking the COPPA law. Therefore, Google and YouTube paid a record amount to the United States and have promised to better protect the data of children who surf the online video platform.
It went further than the fine, the friendly settlement between the FTC and Google, which the two Democratic Commissioners of the FTC opposed as not being severe enough, forced YouTube to change its methods. The latter has to make changes on its video platform. Among these changes, we note that content creators have to label their videos as child-directed or not, in order for YouTube to abide by the coppa FTC rules.
In order to comply with the COPPA law, YouTube is carrying out changes to its video platform in 2020.
A completely new strict YouTube system
Starting next year, all YouTube content creators will be required to tick a box, when uploading a video, indicating whether or not it is “child-directed”. Creators will also have to categorize each of their previously uploaded videos and even their entire channels in the same way. In this case, children’s content means that they are the first audience or that the content is for children but they are a secondary audience.
YouTube channels must specify whether the video is “Made for kids” or “Not made for kids”. You must do this for each video or you can select one of the two labels for the whole channel and its videos. However, confirmation is required whenever you upload a new video. Also, YouTube is going to use machine learning to identify videos that are obviously destined for young audience.
YouTube has indicated that it will promote YouTubeKids more actively, especially for audiences under 13 years, and will be more selective on the channels that can be included. The platform gave time to creators to adapt to the new system and it will establish a $100 million fund to create original content for children on YouTube and YouTubeKids around the world.
Please note that anyone who watches a video that is supposedly intended for children under 13 years old will no longer be able to subscribe to any other channel and will be considered a child under 13 years.
To abide by the coppa FTC 2020, YouTube will considerably reduce the amount of data collected on kids, in addition, videos labeled as “made for kids” won’t have many of YouTube main features, including: Personalized ads, Appearing in search and recommended videos, Comments, End screens, the notification bell, can’t save the video to playlists and Watch Later. If a channel is completely set as “made for kids”, it will lack these features: Stories on YouTube, The full Community tab on your channel page, Channel memberships.
Thus, content creators who create content for kids find themselves in a strange position, because removing such features from their channels will make it very hard for them to engage with their audience; no comments, no new viewers without search or recommended traffic… In addition, because of the absence of personalized advertising, such videos would probably not bring much revenue to the creator – TubeFilter estimated that the lack of personalized advertising could reduce revenue by 90% per video. Therefore, we are expecting a critical fall in revenue from videos.
The problem is what happens if content creators break coppa FTC youtube rules?
The coppa FTC fine
What happens if you do not label the video as being for children? Well, if the video is deemed to be intended for children without being labeled as such, the creator of the content could be sued directly by the FTC. If they do not define their audience, YouTube also warns them that they can change it for them. In addition, Creators should be aware of the fact that YouTube is not responsible for protecting users from legal liability.
YouTube requires creators to comply with coppa FTC because they are subject to potential fines if they don’t respect this law. Uploading a video made for children, but not tagging it as such will be considered as COPPA violation. As the FTC stated, any violation of these rules will lead to a fine of up to $42,000 per video.
This new YouTube system is very worrying for content creators, especially those who have gaming channels. So what are waiting for gaming on YouTube? Is it the end?
The fate of YouTube and gaming channels
The coppa FTC youtube rules will come into effect on 1 January 2020. As you might expect, users are not satisfied with the changes made. Many wondered if this applied to any content that a child might watch – video games that feature children’s games, for example – are required to comply. If you search for “COPPA” on YouTube, you can see videos of creators from the past few days trying to determine if they can continue to create their usual content.
The YouTube community is shocked, especially the YouTubers who have gaming channels. Some were very shocked that they started deleting videos; they even said that they would leave YouTube completely.
Youtubers are sadly talking about the impact of coppa FTC youtube rules and predicting the unhappy end of gaming channels, animation, and cartoon videos on the most popular video platform. Everyone is asking for more attention to this matter.
Others are questioning the meaning of “made for kids”, the FTC said that there is no exact answer for this, but they say that the COPPA rules apply if the intended audience is kids under 13.
What does “Made for Kids” means?
The expression “Made for kids” used by Youtube is too vague, however the FTC uses the term “child-directed”, which means that the videos are directed to kids as a primary audience, it also means that kids are not the primary audience, but the video is still directed to them based on multiple factors:
Whether the video concerns educational content for young kids
Whether the video includes child actors
Whether the video “includes characters, celebrities, or toys that appeal to children”
Whether the language used in the video “is intended for children to understand”
What was the reaction of some famous YouTubers and gamers to coppa FTC?
PewDiePie explains why the new YouTube rules “make no sense”
In one of his latest videos, Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg, spoke about YouTube’s controversial new rules regarding the coppa FTC law.
PewDiePie is undoubtedly the most popular YouTuber in the world. The king of YouTube currently has more than 102 million subscribers on his channel where he continues his famous “same review” with wild adventures on Minecraft.
However, that’s not all! Although he has become famous for his videos on video games, the Swedish does not fail to make videos to respond to current topics or various controversies.
One of the main issues facing youtube users is the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), the law about protecting children’s online privacy, which creators find extremely difficult to understand.
These new regulations represent a sanction that affects all content creators since they must now indicate whether or not their content is intended for children.
PewDiePie examined these regulations and found that not only must creators inform YouTube about their content, but the platform will also use machine learning to decide whether the videos are intended for children or not.
A decision that shocked the Swedish YouTuber, who said sarcastically: “The machine learning has already worked so well on Youtube”. He refers to the various controversies surrounding machine learning, which has been used for automatic copyright claims, among other things.
The YouTuber didn’t stop there. He then found a video that argued that under these new rules, content creators can be prosecuted for violating the new rules set by the coppa FTC law.
“What? Why? It makes no sense… please control your children,” he said, shocked by the fact that he could be punished if children view his content, content that could automatically be qualified as child-friendly when that is far from being the case.
In continuity, PewDiePie took the example of his channel to show what it could look like “I have 5,000 videos on my channel. If 24 of them are considered to be for children, I would owe them a million dollars… epic.”
Many content creators have expressed themselves on this subject, many of whom have opinions similar to those of the Swedish. On a Tweeter post, Alex Carducci, also known as RelaxAlax, famous YouTuber, who has a great gaming channel on YouTube, tweeted “Basically Thanos snap YouTube, that’s what’s happening.”
YouTube creators are confused about coppa FTC fine, they are worried about the negative effects on their monetization, they are even afraid of the risks of being subject to the fines, in case if their content is against the rules.
The “is this video made for kids” is what could cause the termination of your channel if it is wrongly labeled; it could get worse with legal action taken against you.
Is it the end of gaming channels?
We all know that there is content that is obviously made for kids like educational lessons. There are other types of videos that are clearly not made for kids like political topics, however, the most confusing part is when your content is not made for kids but they find it attractive. This is the case for gaming channels!
The problem is when you upload videos that kids may find attractive, let’s take, for example, a video that revolves around a video game that children under 13 may enjoy and find it captivating, like Fortnite or
Minecraft and let’s say that this video contains too much cursing and swearing, you will certainly designate it as “not made for kids”.
However, this is not the case for FTC, which may see just the thumbnail of this video containing innocent cartoon pictures and graphics and may think that it is attractive to kids, thus they will consider this video as for kids, without watching it or even noticing the swearing-in it! What would happen then? Your video will be deemed to be a violation of coppa FTC and you must pay an exorbitant fee.
This is a dilemma, a tight spot and it is difficult to decide. You can label your videos as “made for kids” and watch your YouTube channel die financially, or you can mark your video as “not made for kids” and wait until the FTC decides that it is for kids, then you could be in the worst-case scenario ever.
YouTube informed creators that it is not responsible for protecting them from legal liability. Therefore, it is advised that creators take the necessary measures by getting business liability insurance, and an attorney. Many gamers are predicting an evacuation from YouTube to other video streaming platforms like Twitch. Until now, everyone is confused and we don’t know what is going to happen exactly.