YouTube's COPPA Policy

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The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a United States federal law, located at 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501–6506 (Pub.L. 105–277, 112 Stat. 2681-728, enacted October 21, 1998).

The act applies to the online collection of personal information by persons or entities under U.S. jurisdiction about children under the age of thirteen (including those outside of the United States if the company is United States-based). It gained notoriety recently after YouTube announced they were applying the policy after a $170,000,000 lawsuit from the Government of the State of New York.

The original cause of this controversy was a result of people uploading cartoons and toy reviews aimed towards children, among other things, which also led to parents allowing their children to watch such videos on YouTube, despite the target audience of the site being teenagers and adults. The YouTube Kids client app complied with these guidelines; however, several parents allowed their children to use the main YouTube client app, which ultimately resulted in the lawsuit and enactment of the policy.

Why It Sucks

  1. The policy was formed during a business decision by Susan Wojcicki, in which a lot of popular YouTube videos have been deleted after checking if your channel is "made for kids".
  2. The new upload system is just a horrible decision to check if your video is "made for kids" or "not made for kids".
  3. Going off of that, the automatic mark of if a video is or isn't made for kids judging by the thumbnail is way too strict. If a video has any sort of drawn or animated character, vibrant colors, toys, the name of a franchise popular with kids (e.g. SpongeBob SquarePants and Super Mario), or any other sort of thing that normally appeals to kids, then it is marked as such.
    • The policy also seems to believe that cartoons are only for kids, since they say they mark any video with cartoon characters in it as "made for kids". To add insult to injury, they even mark videos with cartoon or child-friendly-looking characters containing graphic and inappropriate content as "made for kids", such as Cupcakes HD (a fan-made My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic music video where Pinkie Pie murders Rainbow Dash in one scene), Racist Mario (a parody where Mario gruesomely kills various third-party characters, only to be killed off by Kratos from the God of War series, although the "Made for Kids" lock on that video was later removed), some Happy Tree Friends fan-made videos, "Secret Formula" (a crude parody of SpongeBob SquarePants by MeatCanyon in which there's a lot of sexual moaning and the parody isn't made for kids at all) and even Don't Hug Me I'm Scared (though the status of these videos as "made for kids" was later removed). So, kids can watch cute-looking cartoon animals getting murdered in an extremely gruesome way, or puppets that at first look innocent, but later become nightmare fuel?! That is just very messed up.
    • Several episodes of anime from series such as Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho, One Piece, Gintama, Inuyasha, Bleach, K-On, Azumanga Diaoh, One Punch Man and Hunter X Hunter were also marked for kids.
    • There are even rumors that say some videos of the infamous Palestinian-propaganda show Tomorrow's Pioneers were marked for kids, including the infamous scene where Farfour (the Mickey Mouse ripoff) gets beaten to death.
    • A fan made animation featuring Kazekage Gaara from the Naruto series killing Barney in a gruesome way was also marked for kids. Thankfully, the lock was later removed.
    • In addition, some inappropriate channels are also marked as made for kids despite their content, like "1400 800 GANG", proving how broken the system is.
    • And to add further, some age-restricted videos (marked by their algorithm) are marked as for kids, proving the system is even more broken.
    • A video showing off the top 10 darkest Ben 10 moments was also marked for kids.
    • Narmak got two Community Guidelines strikes for his "SpongeBob SquarePants Anime", which YouTube took down for supposedly putting inappropriate content in a video made for kids. They were eventually restored, though.
    • There are even YouTube Poops with said cartoons marked for kids! Yes, YTPs that have stuff such as swearing, violence, even threats and maybe offensive scenes!
    • Although it was removed, a series of videos titled "Warner Bros. Splatter" was marked as for kids simply because it had cartoons like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry. But what they don't realise is that not only are these videos extremely gory, but also some of them have things like "666" on the title, take Splatter ~ 666, or 666 Infancy 666 for example, these get marked as for kids despite having demonic numbers on the titles.
    • This video got made for kids, yet the audio replacement for the teenager literally said b*tch.
      • Later on, the owner of this video is now terminated as a result.
    • If South Park, The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, Family Guy, Happy Tree Friends, Total Drama, Jaiden Animations, "The Duck Song" and its two sequels (made by the LEGO stop-motion video maker ForrestFire101), and TheOdd1sOut all get marked for kids, we are all quitting YouTube.
      • There have at the very least indeed been a few South Park, Simpsons, Happy Tree Friends and Panty & Stocking videos marked as made for kids.
    • This COD Channel for some reason, was automatically marked for kids on all videos by bots despite containing content from a Mature-rated game.
    • The Aladdin recap animation by Cas van de Pol (a Dutch animator who is known for incorporating violent and gore scenes deliberately in his animations for comedic purposes) is marked for kids, despite the fact that it's got a scene where two characters are crushed by a car in a gruesome way at 1:52.
  4. What makes WIS #3 worse is that if you're caught breaking this rule, then you're given a fine of up to $42,000 per video, depending on how much ad revenue each video makes, but what if you can't afford it, or need that money for other purposes?
    • The "$42K fine" was most likely not happened because of the system mentioned earlier.
  5. YouTube's account guidelines explicitly state it is a 13+ site and you have to be old enough to make an account, which is rather counterintuitive.
    • And to add insult to injury, there's already YouTube Kids, already designed as a separate and more kid-friendly version of main YouTube with now tighter and stricter rules and guidelines of content there, making the COPPA law implementation extremely unnecessary.
  6. Many 2005-2019 (i.e. pre-COPPA) YouTube videos have been deleted for very stupid reasons because of this update.
    • It has undoubtedly caused many pre-COPPA YouTubers to be terminated unfairly/move to other websites.
  7. If a video or an entire channel is set as "Made For Kids", the following features will be disabled:
    • Personalized ads
    • Notification bell
    • Comments section
    • Community Tab (If a channel that's made for kids have 1K subscribers or more)
    • Stories tab
    • Saving videos into playlists and watch later
    • The live chat
    • Monetization features
    • Miniplayer
    • Channel Memberships
    • Playing the video in the background
    • Ability to download the video (though this can be bypassed by using third-party sites.)
    • Appearing in search results
      • Which is very stupid and ridiculous, especially since that YouTube doesn't have a good reason why.
  8. There is no way to re-enable those features, even if the only people who use your account or device is at least 13.
  9. The policy, in a nutshell, is essentially yet another censorship method punishing the entire YouTube community for the incompetence of parents not monitoring their children, but even worse.
  10. The policy was originally going to stop itself from destroying the site, but YouTube did absolutely nothing about stopping the policy and instead made it worse.
    • YouTube also has very poor management when it comes to YouTube videos. Videos containing nude children (e.g. babies getting their diapers changed) with the genitalia left uncensored are not taken down or age-restricted on YouTube. Children with the genitalia exposed sets these children up to be watched by pedophiles, which can lead to bad things. It's also illegal to post images or videos of nude children online.
  11. Even if you set your channel as "not made for kids", you will still end up getting Community Guidelines strikes due to kids using adult accounts.
    • Most of your videos can also get removed for the reason "Child Safety" despite your channel being set as "not made for kids"
  12. On the mobile version of YouTube, you'll be constantly reminded when you use the miniplayer on videos set as "Made For Kids" that it is disabled, even when used more than once. The thing that makes it worse though, is that you have to use the miniplayer to close the video!
    • To add insult to injury, if you slide down on mobile, and the message saying that the miniplayer is disabled appears, the "learn more" link will be positioned where the close button was supposed to be. Therefore, it is easy to unintentionally click "learn more" instead of the close button.
    • It is unknown as to what data YouTube needs to collect for the miniplayer to work, however, they could have disabled collecting data on videos made for kids instead of completely disabling the miniplayer.
  13. Kids using adult accounts, or even kids with their own account (which bypasses YouTube's account guidelines) can have access to the data using features of YouTube, meaning that YouTube is still technically violating COPPA policies.
  14. If you had a comment that was really popular in a video that was auto claimed by YouTube, you cannot see it now due to the video being set at "made for kids".
    • If video restored to not for kids and check the comments, the comments are automatically deleted for unknown reason. We hate this deleted comments, it take too long to comments are people.
  15. Sometimes, the YouTube Bots will set a video as "Made for Kids (set by YouTube)", although once again, they are incredibly unintelligent as there are a lot of adult videos being set as this, even if they don't contain kids content. They also ignore swear words, too, so this is pretty much why using bots to detect a video is a bad idea, it would have been better if the bot checks if it's not blocked by the restricted mode feature before marking it, since it's common for videos to be viewable on YouTube Kids that are blocked on Restricted mode on regular YouTube. It's even possible for an age-restricted video to get set as "made for kids", though its extremely rare.
    • There's at least a few channels such as this COD Channel that got all their videos marked for kids while containing games that were rated M for Mature.
  16. If there is a video that features a minor in any sort of way (or even a person who resembles a minor), the comments on the video will automatically be turned off. Even if the minor is 13-17.
  17. Many COPPA-related videos are made between November 2019 and January 2020. As time went on, lesser people (except for small creators) were worrying about it.
    • Some users might click on a video or have their YouTube accounts marked as made for kids without even realizing.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Disabling comments can prevent people from sending kids nasty messages in the comments.
  2. Speaking of RQ#1, it can also prevent kids from learning profanity.
  3. It has the potential to wipe inappropriate YouTube Kids Cartoons (especially Elsagate) out clean.

Videos

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