YouTube TOS, FTC, COPPA – 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Are you confused about YouTube’s new Terms of Service that requires you to designate your content as made for kids or not made for kids, otherwise, you’ll get fined by the FTC?

In the video below, I answer the top 10 frequently asked questions regarding FTC, COPPA and YOUTUBE and how it’ll affect your channel, videos, and revenue. Keep in mind, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m just giving the answers from YouTube and FTC to the best of my ability.

If you want a grow your YouTube Channel so you can attract more views and subscribers, pick up a copy of my 100+ page YouTube Marketing Guide

  1. What happens if you set your content as made for kids?
    If you set your individual video or live stream as made for kids, these features won’t be available….Personal advertising, comments, channel branding watermark, donate button, cards and end screens, live chat or live chat donations, notification bell, playback in the mini-player, super chat or super stickers, saved playlists.
  2. What happens if I set my channel as made for kids?
    The features I just mentioned for individual videos also apply to your channel as well as stories, community posts, channel memberships, as well as saved to watch later or saved to a playlist.

    Thirsty desert asks, “Okay, wondering if they have anything to say about private videos. They’re not public right so they should leave them alone the way I see it. What do you think?”

    Answer: Advertisers can’t advertise on private videos so they’re not going to be affected. But you’ll still have to designate them as made for kids or not made for kids.
  3. What happens if I set my audience incorrectly?
    YouTube says, “You may face compliance issues with the FTC and may have to take action on your YouTube account.”

    What the heck does that mean?

    The FTC says, “The rule allows for civil penalties of up to $42,530 per violation, but the FTC considers 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 its business.

    So, if you have a small channel like myself that doesn’t earn much revenue from ads, they’re not taking into account my financial condition. It’s not going to be $42,000 so I just don’t have it lying around. The bottom line is, choose your settings accurately.
  4. How do you determine if your content is made for kids or not
    These are factors that YouTube and FTC give us to determine if your content is made for kids….
    – Subject matter of the video,
    – whether children are your intended or actual audience for the video,
    – whether the video includes child actors or models,
    – whether the video includes characters, celebrities or toys that appeal to children, including animated characters or cartoon figures,
    – whether the language of the video is intended for children to understand,
    – whether the video includes activities that appeal to children, such as play-acting, simple songs, games, or early education,
    – whether the video includes songs, stories, or poems for children.

    In this document from the Federal Trade Commission, they added competent and reliable empirical evidence about the age of the audience.

    One of the ways to see the age group or the people that are watching your videos is to go YouTube Analytics. Just go to YouTube studio, click on the Analytics then click on audience. My top age group is between 18 and 34 so definitely my content is not directed towards kids.
  5. How old is a kid?
    The age of a kid in the United States is anyone that is under 13 years old but it can be higher in different countries. It means, if you’re under 13, you can’t set up a YouTube channel but you could do you under your parent’s account.

    Alternatively, you can just install YouTube Kids app which is free.
  6. Is animated content considered made for kids?
    According to the FTC, “Just because your video shows bright colors or animated characters, it’s not covered under COPPA.”
  7. What do I do if YouTube says my account is made for kids, but I disagree?
    If you haven’t set your video’s audience yet, YouTube may do it for you. YouTube says they’ll use machine learning to identify the videos that are directed towards kids. They further go on to say that you shouldn’t rely upon their systems to set the audience for you.

    I totally agree with that because many times, YouTubers incorrectly demonetize my videos or give me a strike. So, don’t rely upon YouTube choosing the settings for you.
  8. What if my content appeals to a wide audience, not just kids?
    YouTube says, “It is your responsibility to comply with COPPA and designate your content accurately.”

    That sounds pretty vague. Can you give me more clarification? Watch the video clip in the video from Jeremy who’s a lawyer and a YouTuber with 5 kids about adding a mixed audience designation.

    Jeremy: The mixed audience exception is when your content may fall under the factors that they layout. When I’m talking about the factors, I’m talking about subject matter, the visual content, animated characters like that list of things where YouTube and the FTC are saying, “This is child-directed, or appealing to children,” you could fall under those factors but still not have children as your primary target audience. I want people to be able to see the specific language from the FTC.
  9. Will my channel get deleted if it’s not commercially viable for YouTube?
    Well, this section has got a lot of content creators worried, is a section on the accounts and suspensions. It says, “YouTube might terminate your access or your Google account’s access to all or part of the service if YouTube believes in its sole discretion, that provision of the service to you is no longer commercially viable.”

    Here is YouTube’s response. “To clarify, there are no new rights in our Terms of Service to terminate an account because it’s not making money. As before, we may discontinue certain YouTube features or parts of the service, or parts of the service, for example, if they’re outdated or have low usage. This does not impact creators/viewers in any new ways.”
  10. How can you prepare for these changes?
    * Make sure you designate your content correctly as made for kids or not made for kids. If you can’t decide, look in your demographics and YouTube Analytics.

    *Look for other ways to monetize your content besides ads. Click here for 21 ways to monetize your YouTube content without AdSense ads.

    * Sign a petition. Creators on YouTube are signing this petition asking the FTC to clarify and reconsider copy regulations they say will punish family-friendly content.

    Over 700,000 have already signed the petition. Let’s make it one million. Click here to sign the the petition.
  11. Don’t delete your channel.
    It’s easy to get upset with these new Terms of Service and react emotionally by deleting your channel. Instead, do your best to designate your content correctly as made for kids or not made for kids.

    There will be more clarification coming from YouTube and the FTC, as they get more feedback from YouTube creators.

    If you want to learn more about COPPA and how to change the settings on the individual videos and channel, watch this video.

If you want a grow your YouTube Channel so you can attract more views and subscribers, pick up a copy of my 100+ page YouTube Marketing Guide

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