Google Settles With FTC Over YouTube COPPA Violation; Twitch Experiments With New Sponsor Model

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Google’s Turn

Google will pay up to $200 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle an investigation into whether YouTube violated children’s privacy law by targeting ads to minors, Politico reports. The proposed settlement, which has been sent to the Justice Department for review, dwarves the FTC’s largest COPPA-related fine to date: $5.7 million levied against Musical.ly (now TikTok) in February. YouTube’s fine comes just a month after the FTC settled a record $5 billion fine against Facebook. But in both cases, privacy activists believe the FTC didn’t go far enough. After all, $200 million is a drop in the bucket for YouTube. “It sends the signal that you in fact can break a privacy law and get away largely scot-free," said Jeff Chester, who heads up a group behind the original COPPA complaint against YouTube. More.

Twitchy Brands

Twitch is in talks with advertisers to sell brand-sponsored games as a way to decrease ad clutter on its platform. The games will be choose-your-own-adventure style with a mix of livestream and interactive game play. Big advertisers are buying in, especially automotive brands, where there’s a gaming crossover, Digiday reports. Porsche is testing the platform to reach 18- to 34-year-olds about the launch of its first electric racing car. The auto brand’s first game on Twitch, set in a VR Porsche facility, was viewed 2 million times. But while the channel performs with a niche audience, Twitch’s interactive approach to content gives some advertisers concern over brand safety. “We’re looking to creative narratives and stories that can last the course of a stream where we can actually allow viewers to control the content they’re watching,” said Adam Harris, Twitch’s director of custom solutions in Europe. More.

Probes Across The Pond

The United Kingdom is two months into its investigation of the online ad industry and “absolutely nothing has been solved or resolved at this point,” Simon McDougall, who is leading the investigation at the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office, told the Financial Times. The United Kingdom is the first country to probe the $200 billion online advertising industry’s use of personal data. The Commissioner’s Office gave the ad tech industry until the end of the year to clean up its practices before investigating individual companies, and so far it’s not pleased with the “vague, immature and short answers” it’s getting from executives, McDougall said. The investigation is focused on two areas: how online advertisers use “special category” data including information on health, sexuality, religion and political views to target ads, and how data flows through the fragmented ad tech ecosystem. More.

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