• COPPA and Pony On Youtube - Potential Disaster?

    As most of you have probably heard, Youtube has announced new requirements for videos going forward in response to the Children's Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) regulations that recently struck them with a lawsuit. Usually it would be Youtube themselves causing issues for creators with new changes meant to bring on more profits, but this one is pretty much entirely out of their control. It's a government based regulation.

    Head on down below to read about it and find out how you can help crush this nonsense!

    The basic requirement is that certain videos and channels need to be tagged as "children directed/attractive/friendly", which turns off comments, subscriptions, and a host of other Youtube specific community features that people rely on. The biggest hit is the targeted ads though, as that is a huge chunk of revenue for creators, cutting overall income down to as small as 1/5th what they are currently earning.

    What is "Child directed/attractive/friendly" exactly? That's the big issue, and the main reason why it's a huge deal for the pony fandom. The rules are almost laughably vague. Is it colorful? It's possibly child attractive! Is it about a cartoon? Only children watch those right? Toys? Kids of course! That's where the disconnect come from. The internet is filled with colorful goofy characters kids would absolutely love, but from media directed to adults instead. The last decade and a half has given huge rise to the world of the adult cartoon, and the idea that geeky adults can enjoy shows for kids, while creators of said shows include stuff only they would get. Sound familiar? It's pretty much Friendship is Magic in a nutshell.

    The consequences are also ridiculous. If someone releases an adult focused My Little Pony video on Youtube and labels it "not child friendly", it could still technically be targeted by the FTC because it involves a child friendly topic. The punishment? Up to $42,000 fines per video.

    Several pony youtubers including Sim Gretina have depublished their videos in an effort to protect themselves. Their channels are labeled "not child friendly", but the guidelines are so vague that isn't a defense at all.

    So, what can you do? For starters, the official ruling has a comment page people can pop their thoughts into. It's currently being flooded by everyone shouting them down, but they might read it.

    There is also a petition going on at the moment with a goal of a million signatures. Usually these are considered a joke by government entities and solve nothing, but with enough traction it might make it somewhere.

    The only real thing you can do that will most likely accomplish something is keep the discussion alive. Spread the word. This will hurt everything people have built since Youtube became a thing. Anything at all involving something kids "might" like is now subject to COPPA and fines if they aren't labeled as such.

    Personally I've always thought it was the parents responsibility to keep their kids off the internet and away from topics they aren't comfortable with, but apparently the US government doesn't agree. On a site that already requires 13+ for an account, it baffles me that this is even a thing. Hopefully something good will come of it, but seeing how they handled a few other major internet-focused issues over the years,  I'm not too confident in their ability to navigate anything technology based.