Google has reportedly agreed to pay between $150 and $200 million as part of a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, which investigated allegations that YouTube violated children's privacy laws with its data collection practices.
Politico reported that FTC commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to approve the settlement, which will be reviewed by the Department of Justice.
Privacy groups filed their complaint to the FTC claiming YouTube violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information about its users who are under 13 years old, and using the data for targeted advertisement sans getting consent from parents. Some of the complaints date back as far as 2015.
YouTube was urged to disable ads on all videos targeted for kids and move all of its children's content to a designated app.
Bloomberg revealed last week that YouTube plans to end targeted advertisements on videos that kids are likely to watch in an apparent move that could satisfy regulators, but may affect ad sales of the video company. It is not clear if the move is part of the settlement.
YouTube Kids is also getting its own website.
Settlement Amount 'Woefully Low'
The FTC green lighted the fine last month, but this is the first time that the dollar amount of the settlement has been reported.
Some advocates think the amount is not enough. Katharina Kopp, deputy director of the Center for Digital Democracy that helped lead the complaint against YouTube, described the settlement amount as "woefully low" given the nature of the violation, Google's size and revenue and the amount of money the search engine company generated at the expense of violating the law.
Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the author of COPPA, shared the same sentiment.
"Once again, this FTC appears to have let a powerful company off the hook with a nominal fine for violating users' privacy online," he said in a statement. "We owe it to kids to come down hard on companies that infringe on children's privacy and violate federal law."