Markey: YouTube Should Ban Product Placement in Kids Content

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said there appears to be a YouTube ad policy 'gap' when it comes to protecting children, and he wants some answers from parent, Google.

He said Friday (Nov. 22) that many ad policies that protect kids on the YouTube Kids platform apparently do not apply to content directed to kids on YouTube's main platform.

Markey has long argued that while YouTube says it is not for children under 12, as a practical matter, "there is a wide range of child-focused content available for children on YouTube’s main platform," and plenty of children accessing the site.

“The access that children have to YouTube carries with it a corporate obligation to institute and enforce policies that protect the well being of these young users,” Markey wrote in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “Unfortunately, it appears there are large gaps in YouTube’s advertising policies, which raise concerns about your commitment to safeguarding children from inappropriate advertising.”

Pai said that the prohibitions on product placement, influencer "unboxing" (opening and promoting a product) videos, and other practices on YouTube kids should also apply to the "children's content across all platforms."

John Eggerton

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.