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A new complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission accuses video-sharing site YouTube of illegally collecting children's data.
According to the Guardian, nearly two dozen advocacy groups, including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, are arguing that YouTube's parent company, Google, violates the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting data on and targeting advertising toward children without obtaining parental consent beforehand.
The complaint, filed Monday, also alleges that Google knows that children use YouTube, even though YouTube asks that children under 13 not use the site.
"Despite the presence of literally millions of child-directed videos, and despite promising advertisers access to kids via YouTube ads, Google pretends that they aren’t responsible for the children on YouTube," the CCFC said on its website. "Google knows kids are there, and they are not taking steps to protect their privacy. So we are."
YouTube released the following statement in response to the complaint:
"We are reviewing the complaint and will evaluate if there are things we can do to improve. Protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative specifically designed for children."
According to The Associated Press, YouTube Kids "offers more parental controls but is not as widely used" as the main YouTube site.