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YouTube Ads May Have Led to Online Tracking of Children, Research Says

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A child using a handheld device.

In 2019, YouTube paid a $170 million fine related to claims that it collected personal information from children.

Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Adalytics, which analyzes ad campaigns for brands, reported Google's YouTube advertised adult products from over 300 brands on close to 100 YouTube videos geared toward children, with several ads displaying violent content.

An analysis by The New York Times revealed that some of the ads on children's channels brought viewers to brand websites that tagged their browsers with tracking software from companies including Amazon, Meta, Google, and Microsoft.

In response, U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate potential Children's Online Privacy Protection Act violations by Google and YouTube, accusing them of targeting children with ads without parental consent and collecting and distributing their data.

The Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester said Google's status as the most popular Web browser and video platform and the biggest digital ad business has "created a conveyor belt that is scooping up the data of children."

From The New York Times
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