FTC complaint against YouTube Kids charges deceptive “family friendly” branding

Updating an earlier complaint to the FTC, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy charge that Google engages in false and deceptive advertising by marketing its YouTube Kids as appropriate for children under five despite containing material about child suicide, unsafe behaviors such as playing with matches and tasting battery acid, and ads for alcohol.

According to CDD, "Google claims that YouTube Kids was 'built from the ground up with little ones in mind' and is 'packed full of age-appropriate videos.' . . . Google also assures parents that they 'can rest a little easier knowing that videos in the YouTube Kids app are narrowed down to content appropriate for kids.'"

You can read more here.

(A somewhat misleading L.A. Times story characterizes the charge as simply that the content is inappropriate for kids. That's not the whole story: CCFC and CDD are attacking misleading advertising about the content, not attacking the content per se. Google can disseminate whatever content it wants, of course; the trouble arises when it markets that content in a deceptive manner.)

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