CCFC helps secure more robust protections for kids on YouTube

It’s an important victory. But it’s not a complete one.

On the heels of a groundbreaking FTC settlement in September, YouTube has publicly agreed to protect kids from harmful marketing on their platform. 

Since its launch in 2015, YouTube Kids has had a robust set of marketing restrictions, including no ads for food or beverages, video games, or harmful products. On YouTube however, it was anything goes. 

But this fall’s landmark settlement forced Google to admit what they had denied for years: That millions of children watch videos on the main YouTube platform. And children deserve the same protections no matter what platform they are watching. 

So along with the Center for Digital Democracy, we urged Google to adopt the YouTube Kids ad policies for child-directed content on YouTube. And yesterday, Senator Ed Markey secured a public pledge that, with one notable exception, Google would do just that. So going forward, kids won’t see ads on YouTube for video games, food and beverages, or commercials that use sex or violence as their selling point.

It’s an important victory. But it’s not a complete one.

Google didn’t ban product placement and child-directed influencer content on the main YouTube platform, like RyanToysReview or EvanTubeHD. This type of manipulative marketing is not allowed on children’s TV or YouTube Kids, and should never be targeted to children. You can be sure we’ll be working tirelessly to convince Google to change their mind.

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“YouTube’s announcement that it will prohibit targeted, violent, unhealthy, and inappropriate advertising to kids on its main platform is a big win,” Markey said Wednesday.

Broadcasting + Cable:

Leslie Miller, VP of public affairs and public policy [at YouTube], said that it will now apply the same ad content restrictions for child-directed content on YouTube as it does on its YouTube Kids platform. “Only advertisements that are family-friendly will be served on Made for Kids Content, meaning that ads featuring sexually suggestive, violent or dangerous content, for example, will be prohibited.”


Advocacy groups Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy also reiterated their requests that Google prohibit influencers from marketing to children.

“If this manipulative marketing isn’t allowed on children’s TV or YouTube Kids, it shouldn’t be targeted to children on the main YouTube platform either,” Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, stated.