Children's Advocates Complain to FTC About YouTube Kids App

WASHINGTON — A coalition of consumer groups is filing a complaint against Google with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday (April 7) asking it to investigate a YouTube Kids app that they allege deceptively and unfairly blends content and marketing.

The FTC is empowered to sue companies over unfair and deceptive marketing practices under the FTC Act.

The complaint alleges of the YouTube Kids app:

• "Intermixing advertising and programming in ways that deceive young children, who, unlike adults, lack the cognitive ability to distinguish between the two;"

• "Featuring numerous 'branded channels' for McDonald’s, Barbie, Fisher-Price, and other companies, which are little more than program-length commercials;" and

• "Distributing so-called ‘user-generated’ segments that feature toys, candy, and other products without disclosing the business relationships that many of the producers of these videos have with the manufacturers of the products, a likely violation of the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines."

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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.