Tech Talk: Google, YouTube come under scrutiny over targeting children for ads

Critics say YouTube and its parent company, Google, are collecting and using data on children's online behavior in violation of federal law. (Photo courtesy of

A pair of U.S congressmen have notified Google that YouTube, a Google subsidiary, might not be in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. expressed their concern in a letter to Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, following up on a complaint filed in April by more than 20 advocacy groups, writes Sapna Maheshwari at

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While Google has come under increased scrutiny for how it may be tracking and targeting children for advertising, YouTube has said its practices are in line with COPPA, which requires companies to obtain explicit, verifiable permission from parents before collecting personal information from children under 13 or targeting them with ads tied to their online behavior.

YouTube’s terms of service state that its main app and website are meant only for viewers 13 and older, which means that site does not have to comply with COPPA. The company directs those under 13 to the YouTube Kids app, which pulls its videos from the main site.

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