YouTube’s compliance with COPPA may force service cuts

YouTube has formally instituted several new rules and policies around content intended for children. They’re required as part of the company’s agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to comply with COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – along with a $170 million settlement for alleged violations.

The end result is that YouTube creators catering to children will be affected substantially in terms of monetization, which of course also means YouTube is expected to get a hit in ad revenue, due to limitations on ads that can be served to minors.

Why am I mentioning this? This also happens to coincide with YouTube’s new terms of service which includes language stating their “right” to terminate users who aren’t commercially viable (translation: not helping YouTube make money on ad revenue). While there’s no apparent sign of it happening, YouTube may decide at some point it needs to cut its operating costs to make up for lost revenue due to COPPA compliance.

An obvious target would be the throngs of users freeloading on YouTube’s no-cost video hosting services but generating negligible traffic and engagement. I’ve covered this in some depth, and it’s worth a read.