YouTube as you know it could be a thing of the past. For years, parent company Google has been gathering information on children and targeting them with ads, something that’s a big no-no under the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA). After paying a $170 million settlement to the organization, YouTube plans on enacting site-wide changes that could affect everything from gaming to toy reviews. As long as kids could be interested in a creator’s content, they have to fall in line.
Prominent gaming channel Game Theory has now released a video (which is at the bottom of the article) explaining the new rules. As an overview, creators now have the ability to mark their videos as “For Kids.” This will mark the video in YouTube’s backend and disable many features, including comments, notifications, targeted ads, and the ability to find the content in search or recommended bar. Only subscribers to that specific channel will be able to find it, which severely limits a video’s profitability and visibility. YouTube has also set up an algorithm to detect videos that seem appropriate for kids, which has flagged many videos from prominent creators and threatened the livelihood of some channels focusing on kid-friendly topics.
Fighting the “For Kids” flag is an option, but the FTC has warned creators that kid-friendly videos they find could be hit with a $42,000 fine. This has put many creators in an untenable position where they have to reconsider their entire content strategy. ’90s nostalgia host Chadtronic has been vocal over the past few weeks in getting the word out about these changes, reporting on the news in several tweets and videos. On the gaming front, YouTuber Arlo, who appears in his videos as a blue puppet, is considering switching to voice-only videos or a podcast.
These are just a few of the many creators that could have to dramatically shift what they put out week to week, with results that could shake the landscape of YouTube for years to come. Many of the affected creators are asking fans to leave a comment on the FTC’s official website regarding why they’re against the changes. It is a petition on the internet, so there are no guarantees, but we’ll have to see what happens in the coming months. The changes for YouTube will start in January, although the “For Kids” algorithm is already marking videos in anticipation of the change.