Senator Markey Reacts to News of Potential FTC Investigation into YouTube and Children’s Privacy
Senator has introduced bipartisan legislation to update COPPA; plans to introduce new legislation to protect kids against manipulation, marketing, and harmful content online
Washington (June 19, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), released the following statement after the Washington Post reported that the FTC is investigating YouTube for potential violations of children’s online privacy. In November 2018, Senator Markey asked FTC Chairman Joseph Simons specifically about YouTube’s potential violation of the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
“An FTC investigation into YouTube’s treatment of children online is long overdue,” said Senator Markey. “It is no secret that kids flock to YouTube every day, but the company has yet to take the necessary steps to protect its youngest users. I am pleased to see reports that the FTC is working to hold YouTube accountable for its actions.
“But we must do much more to ensure that our children are protected from online dangers known and unknown. In the coming weeks, I will introduce legislation that will combat online design features that coerce children and create bad habits, commercialization and marketing that manipulate kids and push them into consumer culture, and the amplification of inappropriate and harmful content on the internet. It’s time for the adults in the room to step in and ensure that corporate profits no longer come before kids’ privacy.”
In March, Senators Markey and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to update children’s online privacy rules for the 21stcentury. The legislation updates COPPA by prohibiting internet companies from collecting personal and location information from anyone under 13 without parental consent and from anyone 13- to 15-years old without the user’s consent. The legislation also creates an “Eraser Button,” so parents and kids can delete personal information and a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Minors” that limits the collection of personal information. The bill also establishes a first-of-its-kind Youth Privacy and Marketing Division at the FTC, which will be responsible for addressing the privacy of children and minors and marketing directed at children and minors.