Google has been accused of blurring lines between ads and content in its Youtube Kids app, by Consumer watchdog groups. The complaint has been filed to Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Google has broken a number of broadcasting rules, including mixing “commercial and other content in ways that are deceptive and unfair to children” and hosting videos from individuals with undisclosed links to products they are endorsing.
One of the issues raised by the complaints is that the app violates the FTC’s “Guide Concerning the Use of Testimonials in Advertising.” This requires that individuals endorsing products on TV disclose any connections with the manufacturer that “might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement.” However, the ads on Youtube Kids are accused of indirectly endorsing products via ‘visible product placement’.
The complaint has been filed to the FTC by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation, and is signed by a number of groups including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Consumers Union, Children Now, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Regarding the matter, Youtube has issued a statement saying, “When developing YouTube Kids we consulted with numerous partners and child advocacy and privacy groups. We are always open to feedback on ways to improve the app.”, as reported by The Verge.
Youtube kids was launched on 23rd Feb this year, as a video library for children