Ban Sought in U.S. for YouTube Ads ‘Masquerading’ as Kids’ Shows
Consumer privacy watchdogs asked U.S. regulators to stop Google and other companies from running online children’s programs laden with unlabeled advertisements for such products as snack foods and toys on websites including YouTube and Instagram.
The complaint dated Friday to the Federal Trade Commission extends the debate over marketing to children, which long has been restricted on traditional television, to online channels that increasingly are drawing attention from youths — and advertisers.
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“It defies common sense that a harmful tactic which exploits children’s developmental vulnerabilities would be prohibited on one platform but allowed on another,” said Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “We need the FTC to take decisive action so that children have the same protections when they’re watching YouTube as they do when they watch Nickelodeon.”
The online shows “take unfair advantage of kids, who do not have the ability to recognize that companies use social media and YouTube celebrities to pitch toys, junk food, and other products,” Golin’s group, along with two other privacy advocates, the Center for Digital Democracy and Public Citizen, said in a news release Friday.