Published: Mon, April 09, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

YouTube apparently readying human-curated Kids app

By giving parents the option to turn off the algorithmically recommended videos, the new "YouTube Kids" plans to curb conspiracy theory videos such as sexually explicit language, profanity and paedophilia jokes that were surfacing on the channel previously. It was drafted by the Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups. YouTube's "illegal collection has been going on for many years and involves tens of millions of US children", the complaint alleges. "It's time for the FTC to hold Google accountable for its illegal data collection and advertising practices".

Child advocates say that YouTube is being disingenuous when it comes to acknowledging just how much influence the site has over shaping the worldview of younger views, many of whom have come to regard the platform as a replacement for television.

A coalition of more than 20 groups is set to file a complaint Monday alleging the streaming site has been using and profiting off the personal information of young children on its site.

Its terms of service say it's not for children under 13, but the platform is widely popular among children of all ages. To sign up for a Google account, which is used to log into YouTube, an individual needs to state that they have become elderly than 1-3. It also estimated that almost half of kids aged under 11 watch the platform.

In a statement on Friday, YouTube said, "While we haven't received the complaint, protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us".

"Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies", Wright said. According to a report from Business Insider last month, the YouTube Kids app was suggesting videos that were unsuitable for kids. The buzz around the water cooler is that the new version of YouTube Kids is only a couple of weeks away from being launched.

Some of the advocacy groups behind the complaint have targeted YouTube in the past.

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