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Google Under Fire for "deceptively targeting toddlers with advertising"

     
1:30 pm on Apr 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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[mercurynews.com...]

Their complaint accuses YouTube Kids of mixing commercial content with children's video programming using practices banned on broadcast and cable television by another agency, the Federal Communications Commission. Those restrictions -- such as banning children's TV hosts or cartoon characters from hawking products during a show -- emerged in the 1970s in response to research showing young children have not developed the cognitive skills to resist advertising or understand they are being targeted.
8:04 pm on Apr 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This isn't quite as simple as it sounds, as the highlighted phrase above makes clear. The FCC rules apply to broadcast and cable television, not to the Internet, so bringing them into the discussion might be termed deceptive. :-)

For what it's worth, my granddaughter (who just turned four) enjoys watching such YouTube videos now and then, usually when she's wants a change from Peppa Pig or Caillou. So far she hasn't asked for any of the products being unboxed or displayed--which is just as well, since some of the products--specifically, Ferrero Kinder Surprise eggs with Disney action figures and such inside--aren't even sold (at least, not legally) in the U.S.
11:37 pm on Apr 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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aren't even sold (at least, not legally) in the U.S.

YouTube's advertising selection process is a whole nother thread ;) Sometimes for several days on end-- especially on the iPad-- they seem to think I prefer Spanish-language ads.
9:04 am on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The FCC rules apply to broadcast and cable television, not to the Internet, so bringing them into the discussion might be termed deceptive


Does the phrase "Broadcast yourself" not ring a bell with you?

Can you supply a link to the official document which states that online (Internet) broadcasting is excluded from the FCC regulation?
10:52 am on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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[wired.com...]

When it comes to advertising to kids, the rules for the internet are fuzzier than the tightly regulated world of television, in large part because internet advertising itself is always changing. In the meantime, kids could be left vulnerable.

Blurring the Boundaries
The YouTube Kids app intermingles ad clips in areas where shows are listed, features popular hosts selling products, and offers shows that look like ads without any indication that they are commercials, according to the complaint. In other words, YouTube is getting away with all the things kid-friendly cable channels such as Nickelodeon canít, says Angela Campbell, counsel for the Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, who helped file the complaint. ďThey canít have hosts selling products, they canít have programs write commercials, and they have a limit on the amount of advertising they have per hour,Ē she says.
1:36 pm on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Can you supply a link to the official document which states that online (Internet) broadcasting is excluded from the FCC regulation?


Since the laws were written before the Web existed, that would be difficult. :-)

Something else to keep in mind:

Not all product- or toy-oriented videos on YouTube are advertising even if they may seem so to people who don't do their homework. Some are produced by collectors or fans.

Also, what constitutes advertising or promotion to toddlers may be in the eye of the beholder. Should Disney be forbidden from posting trailers for FROZEN on YouTube because they promote the movie and, indirectly, merchandise that's based on the movie? At what point do the so-called "consumer watchdog groups" (which have no official standing) become the minority dictating to the majority?
2:44 pm on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ads to subliminally teach kids "don't be afraid we're not evil".
4:27 pm on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Since the laws were written before the Web existed, that would be difficult.

Court rulings can be harder to find online than statutes, but they do exist-- especially the ones that directly pertain to the internet. Besides, laws passed in recent decades tend to go overboard about "any means or medium whatsoever, whether currently existing or yet to be invented". (These wordings may, themselves, be subject to court interpretation on "unduly broad or vague" grounds. But it's a start.)
5:26 pm on Apr 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If the FCC laws applied, wouldn't the complainants be complaining to the FCC, not the FTC?