Just Tech Things

YouTube drops bomb on creators targeting children, announces sweeping changes.

If you are still in the planning fase for creating a YouTube channel that revolves around slime, opening toys, doing dumb shit to impress ten year olds or any other type of content that targets children, you might want to re-evaluate your plans. YouTube has just informed their creators about changes around content that is targeting kids. From a distance, it’s safe to say that YouTubers creating content for kids will get hurt by the update. Financially, at the very least. And perhaps emotionally, as well. How’s those “Important Channel Update” videos coming along where you’re crying in front of the camera, guys?

Image by Thomas Quinn from Pixabay

After losing a legal battle with the FTC, YouTube has been forced to make changes to their platform to become COPPA compliant. COPPA stands for Child Online Privacy Protection Act. The law affects how companies should handle the data and privacy of children.

Knowing Google and YouTube, we can imagine how they managed that privacy in the past: poorly. But this isn’t a post to rag on YouTube or their content creators, this is supposed to be an informative article.

Because of this ruling, YouTube will be implementing changes to their platform. These changes will affect all content creators, regardless of location. I initially wanted to go as far as saying that you should be fine if you are not targeting children with your content, but that is not entirely true. More on that later.

The changes YouTube announced

First things first: YouTube now requires you to identify whether your content targets children or not. This can be done in a few different ways:

  • On a channel level, indicate whether you never / always target children with your content
  • Choose tp manually choose the audience for all videos.

YouTube will also be using automated machine learning to identify content that is targeting kids. And of course, YouTube being YouTube, this software might be wrong in it’s infinite wisdom and label your content as “targeting kids”.

You might think that this is a good thing. After all, we have seen YouTube take sweeping actions against YouTubers that made content that wasn’t “family friendly”, by demonetizing their content (and alledgedly making their contant invisible in the results, although nobody has ever seen evidence of that. On the account of “How can you see them not show content in search results.).

Well, not really. Because as it turns out, having your content labeled as “targeting children” is also not something that you want, because of reasons that we’ll share below. Doing so is mandatory, however. YouTube kindly informs creators that failing to properly identify content can lead to not only legal problems but also to YouTube taking actions against your YouTube account.

If your video(s) are marked as “targeting children”, YouTube will be disabling a huge amount of features around your video. The most “important” change, according to advertizing giant YouTube themselves, is that they won’t be allowed to collect personalized data for their advertizements. This means that it’ll be forced to show less profitable ads on your videos, which in turn will affect your revenue per video. That means that the advertizement income from these types of creators will be decreasing. But that’s not all, because YouTube will also be disabling the following features:

Disabled video features

  • Reactions will be disabled
  • Channel subscriptions will be unavailable (on the specific videos)
  • Donate buttons will be unavailable
  • End screens will not be usable
  • Live Chat will be disabled for streams
  • The miniplayer won’t be available
  • Superchat will be off limits
  • You won’t be able to add the video to playlists (I’m not kidding)
  • You won’t be able to use the “merchandise” bar

It’s safe to assume that all of those features will be disabled for all your content by default if you chose to indicate that your entire channel targets kids.

Disabled community features

But wait, there is more. If your channel targets children, the following features will also be unavailable.(on top of the features above which will be unavailable across all your content)

  • Stories will not be usable
  • The community tab and feature will not be accessible
  • Notifications will be disabled channel-wide

What does that mean?!

Simply put, creators whose content targets children will see all native monetization features disabled. On top of that, there will be no opportunities for community interaction on YouTube. Basically, if your channel creates content targeting children, here’s the features you’ll have available to yourself: Uploading videos and your descriptions. And that’s it. Oh, and don’t bother reminding kids to click that notification bell. Because yeaaaaaah… that’s now gone, too.

Pair that with lowered revenue, and this new “update” from YouTube might deal a significant blow to all content creators targeting children.

People who aren’t neccesarily creating content for children might feel the effects, too. They might now have to argue with YouTube that their content doesn’t target children as a primary or secondary audience. That’s fun, right?

The general conclusion is that this update will affect a lot of professional YouTube creators targeting what was once one of the most lucrative audiences on the platform, by taking away their community tools and directly affecting their ad revenue. Ouch.

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