NEW: We're defunding Fox News. Join us here.
Aug 24, 2023

A bad week for Google keeps getting worse

Google spent the last week furiously denying a report about how it has secretly displayed violent ads meant for adults on kids’ YouTube channels and then harvested children’s data without parental consent. We’re talking ads that included car crashes and people drowning running on videos like “Here We Go Up | COCOMELON” and “Dinosaurs Showdown!” — and then collecting data on the children that would click on them. Eeek. Not a good look, Google.

Advertisers (in addition to parents everywhere) were pretty mad to learn that ad campaigns specifically meant to exclude children ended up being placed on videos for kids anyway — not only putting kids at risk but wasting their money as well.

Two U.S. senators took notice, too, and demanded the FTC investigate. After all, it was only four years ago that Google and YouTube agreed to pay $170 million to the FTC for allegedly collecting children's personal information without parental consent.

Think that’s bad? Well, things get even worse…

A new report this week shows that Google could be on the hook for billions. Fairplay For Kids and Adalytics have direct evidence that advertisers can run targeted ads on “made for kids” channels.

The experiment was simple: Create ads that targeted groups of adults, like business owners, and tell YouTube to put the ads on kids channels. Since kids supposedly can't be targeted, no ads should have been served. But the ads went out anyway.

“I feel for advertisers here, because this isn’t just a legal risk – it’s a waste of advertising dollars,”  Laura Edelson, former CTO for the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, told AdExchanger.

One group you shouldn't feel sorry for here is Google. Targeting kids without parental consent is a massive violation of a children's privacy law known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which has penalties as high as $50,000 per violation. In a letter to the FTC Wednesday, Fairplay For Kids, The Center for Digital Democracy, Common Sense, and Electronic Privacy Information Center called on the FTC to launch an investigation into Google’s practices.

Check My Ads supports Fairplay for Kids and their letter to FTC. Advertiser dollars shouldn't be wasted and, more importantly, children's privacy should be protected.

Check My Ads Institute is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
Copyright © 2021 Check My Ads. All content © of their respective owners. Privacy Policy