Google, the parent company of YouTube, responded to a report that suggested YouTube advertisers are sourcing data from children viewing videos on the platform.
On Aug. 18, a day after the report surfaced, Google posted a blog reinstating its “strict privacy standards around made for kids content,” which is content marked on YouTube created for children.
The BigTech giant said it has focused on creating kid-specific products like YouTube Kids and supervised accounts.
“We’ve invested a great deal of time and resources to protect kids on our platforms, especially when it comes to the ads they see…”
It said it launched a restriction worldwide for personalized ads and age-sensitive ad categories for its users under 18. Additionally, the post clarified that it does not allow third-party trackers on ads that appear on kids’ content.
Nonetheless, on Aug. 17, data analysis and transparency platform Adalytics published a 206-page report alleging that advertisers on YouTube could be “inadvertently harvesting data from millions of children.”
Some of the claims made in the report include cookies indicating a “breakdown” of privacy and YouTube creating an “undisclosed persistent, immutable unique identifier” that gets transmitted to servers even on made-for-kids videos with no clarity on why it’s collecting it.
An article from The New York Times also reported on the research from Adalytics, specifically highlighting an instance where an adult-targeted ad from a Canadian bank was shown to a viewer on a video label for kids.
Adalytics reported that since that viewer clicked on the ad, tracking software from Google, Meta and Microsoft, along with companies, was tagged on the user’s browser.
Concerns around Google’s privacy and data collection standards have been raised in recent months, as the company has been releasing more products with artificial intelligence (AI) incorporated.
Most recently, on Aug. 15, Google introduced a series of enhancements for its search engine incorporating advanced generative AI features.