May 26, 2022

Child and Consumer Advocates Urge FTC to Investigate Google for Excessive and Deceptive Advertising Directed at Children

From the Center for Digital Democracy:

A coalition of prominent children’s and consumer advocacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today requesting an investigation of Google, charging the company with unfair and deceptive practices in connection with its new YouTube Kids app [that launched  on February 22, 2015] . The complaint details a number of the app’s features that take advantage of children’s developmental vulnerabilities and violate long-standing media and advertising safeguards that protect children viewing television. Among the specific practices identified in the complaint are:

  • Intermixing advertising and programming in ways that deceive young children, who, unlike adults, lack the cognitive ability to distinguish between the two;
  • Featuring numerous “branded channels” for McDonald’s, Barbie, Fisher-Price, and other companies, which are little more than program-length commercials;
  • Distributing so-called “user-generated” segments that feature toys, candy, and other products without disclosing the business relationships that many of the producers of these videos have with the manufacturers of the products, a likely violation of the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines.

Read the Complete Announcement

Read the Complete Complaint Filed with FTC (Signed by 11 People/Organizations and One Individual)

See Also: Full Text Report: YouTube, Big Data, Big Brands = Trouble for Kids and Parents (12 pages; PDF; by Center for Digital Democracy)

Sampler of Media Coverage

Google product for kids criticized (via Tribune News Services)

Google accused of using ‘unfair and deceptive’ ads on YouTube Kids (via The Verge)

Google denies YouTube Kids app unfairly targets children (via The Guardian)

See Also: Several Excellent Choices For Educational Video Targeting Kids Included in this List
Including TeacherTube and WatchKnowLearn.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.