The New COPPA Rules and How They Will Potentially Affect Content Creators on YouTube 
Sat, April 17, 2021

The New COPPA Rules and How They Will Potentially Affect Content Creators on YouTube 

Content creators on YouTube are becoming worried over the new implementations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), arguing that the new rules might jeopardize their careers on the platform / Photo by: SCBY via Wikimedia Commons

 

Content creators on YouTube are becoming worried over the new implementations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), arguing that the new rules might jeopardize their careers on the platform. Everyone has their own opinions about the matter—those who are in favor and those who believe it will bring more harm than good. 

 

What Are The New Guidelines? 

To understand what this might mean for content creators’ careers on the platform, it helps if we know what the rule is about. In an extensive explanation by news website for all things animation, Cartoon Brew, the new guidelines under COPPA will reduce the likelihood of unknown entities on the internet, or big companies, from getting hold of children’s sensitive information.  

Starting January 1, 2020, YouTube will cut down targeted advertisements on kid-oriented videos, which companies usually use to gather private citizen information. Taking this away will cause the entire world of animators thriving on YouTube to lose about 60% to 90% of their income, especially since everyone knows that targeted ads generate more money for the artist than non-targeted ones. 

It is understandably a point of concern and, in some cases, even friction for other creators. It’s not that they’re not keen on protecting children from the pitfalls of the only ever-progressing internet, what they’re decrying is how the shortcomings of YouTube is being passed on to them to fix. 

User Vivienne Medrano on Twitter couldn’t have described the most prevalent argument after the shock that gripped the community when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced these new rules: “Content creators paying the price of YouTube’s failures and bad parenting. This cannot stand...This is something that affects everyone. The freedom of the internet creativity itself is being threatened, in my opinion.” 

Starting January 1, 2020, YouTube will cut down targeted advertisements on kid-oriented videos, which companies usually use to gather private citizen information / Photo by: BrokenSphere via Wikimedia Commons

 

Vivienne is not alone in this assessment. It’s a concern shared by most of her kind because aside from a cut in income, creators will also not be able to take advantage of certain YouTube features such as comments, info cards, end screens, notification bells, community tabs, stories, and other things that usually lend insight to the creator regarding their work and is present in other pages on YouTube. Otherwise, it’s just the kid-friendly stuff that will be losing it. 

According to Cartoon Brew, some creators don’t necessarily hate the new guidelines, they’re just confused by it, and YouTube’s all-around vagueness toward it only makes things worse. The platform has outlined some criteria for creators to determine if their work is kid-friendly or not, but even that isn’t as clear as creators would want, and even more creators are debating on just abandoning the platform for something else because YouTube suggests creators should ask their lawyers what counts as kid-friendly content if they are unsure. Some creators simply don’t have the financial capacity to hire a lawyer. 

What about when they violate the FTC’s new set of rules? What happens then? According to Variety, a magazine that offers entertainment news and film reviews, creators could face fines of up to $42,530 per violation or, according to their recent blog, a penalty that the FTC will base on “a number of factors in determining the appropriate amount, including a company’s financial condition and the impact a penalty could have on its ability to stay in business.” 

In Defense of the Guidelines 

A writer for the online magazine Slate, Harsimar Dhanoa, reasoned that, while content creators’ fears have merits, it is not the time to get into a fit over the repercussions of this rule, especially since YouTube seems to be well-meaning about it.

According to Dhanoa, he feels as though the creators may be a little misinformed, saying that the law would impede neither their creativity nor their business model but would only go after the unjust collection of data of minors. People beyond that age already worry about their digital footprint, what more of parents thinking the same thing might be happening with their youngsters?

“COPPA isn’t new,” Dhanoa argued. “The law has been around longer than YouTube, and the fact that the company is just now starting to comply with it is no one’s fault but YouTube’s. Google could stop turning a blind eye to kids on YouTube, allow kids to create accounts, and then ask for parental permission as it does with the Google Play Store. In fact, despite nearly two decades of industry claiming that these rules would destroy the online market for children’s content—just as the content creators are doing now—plenty of companies comply with COPPA by allowing kids under 13 to create accounts and treating their data differently.” 

It’s not like YouTube will just leave creators hanging either, as Dhanoa explained that YouTube will keep in touch and encourage creators to communicate with the FTC so both can hopefully build better children's privacy rules in the future. 

He finishes his defense by saying that it is high time that something like this happens, to “strengthen protections for the most vulnerable members of our community, not weaken them.”

Creators may be unhappy about the implementation of the new guidelines, but just as they are concerned about the profit that could be lost, they should as well consider the welfare of their audience.

User Vivienne Medrano on Twitter couldn’t have described the most prevalent argument after the shock that gripped the community when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced these new rules / Photo by: Cliff via Flickr.