Online video gaming platform Discord is not an online service directed to children, so it complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
That is according to the Children's Advertising Review Unit of BBB National Programs, which took a closer look at the platform as part of its routine monitoring of sites with child-directed content. It also concluded the site met CARU's own guidelines for online privacy protections for the kids that do use the site.
The site has taken flak as an "unsupervised playground" where gaming mixes with a darker side.
CARU found a number of Discord channels that featured games with significant numbers of users under 13, including Fortnite, Pokémon Go, and Roblox, as well as YouTube influencers with large teen followers that encourage them to use Discord. But it also said that after assessing information provided by Discord demonstrating its intent to direct the site to adults, including the mature content on its most popular channels, the lack of ad campaigns directed to a young audience, and the fact that it is subscription based rather than on monetizing online behavioral data, CARU concluded it was not child-directed.
“Though it isn’t always the case, the outcome we hope for is proactive corporate accountability on children’s privacy, and that is exactly what Discord delivered,” said Dona Fraser, SVP of privacy initiatives and director of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU).
CARU said it was also persuaded by Discord's privacy by design measures and Discord's decision to implement an age screen and take other steps to try and keep kids off the site.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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