Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
YouTube Said to Be Fined Up to $200M for Children’s Privacy Violations (nytimes.com)
199 points by arctux 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 144 comments



All: this seems to be quite a provocative topic, as with many submissions that involve children and parents. If you're going to comment, please post thoughtfully and follow the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. If you can't do that, please don't post until you can.


This whole thing feels like Monopoly money. First, it’s $200m to a company valued at more than $800B.

Imagine you had 100k in the bank. That would be like a $25 late payment fee.

But on top of that, it’s $200m into the black hole that is our dysfunctional and bloated federal government. How do The Impacted children whose privacy was violated actually benefit.

It’s all ridiculous.


> This whole thing feels like Monopoly money. First, it’s $200m to a company valued at more than $800B.

> Imagine you had 100k in the bank. That would be like a $25 late payment fee.

No, it isn't. A company's valuation is not money in the bank. The proper comparison is to profit.


some might argue the proper comparison is to the severity and scale of the offense itself.


Proper comparison is the reaction of a CEO - if the CEO responds by firing the upper management->product management responsible for the part that caused the fine then the fine got a point across.


It’s okay for a fine to be insignificant. Parking tickets are insignificant fines too, but in aggregate act to control parking behavior.

What’s needed is better enforcement, not more stringent fines.


Not at all. Those who have cars and can afford the fine consider parking fines to be a cost of doing business. Get a ticket, pay it on the web.

Now if the car is towed that becomes a problem because just pulling out a credit card does not fix it.


> Those who have cars and can afford the fine consider parking fines to be a cost of doing business.

I don't. if the fine is $50 and it costs $5 to park, I will pay unless I suspect enforcement is so lax that I have a >90% chance of getting away with it.


> I don't. if the fine is $50 and it costs $5 to park, I will pay unless I suspect enforcement is so lax that I have a >90% chance of getting away with it.

That amounts to the same thing. You obey the regulations (pay for parking) except when you think it's cheaper not to. Companies do the same thing. Most of the time it works out, but sometimes there's a fine.


the above poster is saying that parking fines don't work so you gotta escalate and tow the person's car. I'm saying you don't have to do that, just hire a few more meter enforcement people and stick with fines that are proportional to the offense. personally, I think $40-50 is a reasonable fine for attempting to subvert parking regulations. if you park in a way that blocks a whole lane of traffic, you have caused a big bigger and time sensitive problem that justifies a tow truck.


You can see it every day in the cities. UPS/Fedex delivery trucks getting tickets every day. What happens? Companies simply pay the fines because it is a daily fine. So at say $100 per ticket it is just $3k/mo per truck to do deliveries. Since the company makes more than that per truck for that period of time it is the cost of doing business.

Want to stop it? Make this cost high enough to make it non-profitable. If a ticket for illegal double parking is $5k and not $100 then a daily ticket means $150k in fines per truck per month, which is definitely higher than the amount of money a delivery company makes per truck, so the company is going to avoid getting fines.


I live in a city, but I'm not sure I've noticed ups doing this. just to be clear are you talking about parking without paying or double-parking (a much more serious offense)?

if they're double-parking, do they do this because there isn't a reserved dropoff space? what do USPS trucks do when they deliver to these buildings?


I'm talking about any parking violations, from not paying metered, to parking in the no parking zones, to double parking etc.

> if they're double-parking, do they do this because there isn't a reserved dropoff space? what do USPS trucks do when they deliver to these buildings?

USPS delivers significantly less often - typically there's going to be a single delivery vehicle for all USPS services, while FedEx/UPS/DHL will have a vehicle per class of service.

USPS also double parks, parks in a non-parking spots but they tend not to have tickets on their vehicles.


I don't believe for a second that this represents the minority. One might be tempted to conjure reddit-like images of Chads and Karens who park their cars where ever, when ever, and for however long they like, but the majority of people aren't like this.


https://data.cityofnewyork.us/City-Government/Parking-Violat...

That's 11.7M violations for fiscal 2018.


And? What does a page full of data tell me? At a quick glance I can see a lot of violations made repeatedly for the same licence plate; there's no data on whether certain violations are made multiple times by the same person with different vehicles; it's not easy to tell what kinds of violations there are, how much of each, and which are easy to get tickets from unscrupulous parking attendants or which would require actual lack of action by the vehicle's driver or owner… this isn't evidence of anything.

The population of New York may be only 8.5 million, but that doesn't make 11 million infractions an indicator that the majority of those people are the sorts of people to accept parking fines as the cost of owning a vehicle.


This actually illustrates that the same license plates get tickets i.e. getting parking tickets is the cost of doing business.


That doesn't say anything about whether these people represent the majority, which was my point, though. Not sure why those stats should matter to me.


Ahh, I meant to say "I don't believe for a second that this represents the majority"! Man, this comment makes no sense. Apologies.


That doesn’t really work for a company like google with a largely blameless culture.

The only way of really judging is through repeat offences which is difficult in a case like this where the judgement was that Google didn’t do enough. That line of “enough” is going to be redefined a lot as the web develops (as it should be).


> That doesn’t really work for a company like google with a largely blameless culture.

That's only the case because the cost of mistakes are insignificant. Should the mistakes start costing them 5% of revenue you can bet a farm that the person would be fired.


Alphabet has $125Bn cash on hand.


FTA:

> The settlement would be the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the F.T.C. in a children’s privacy case. It dwarfs the previous record fine of $5.7 million for children’s privacy violations the agency levied this year against the owners of TikTok, a social video-sharing app.

This was a warning to YouTube, but from their perspective, there's clearly a subtext of "we're not afraid to raise the fines, next time could be a lot worse".


I would normally say that the most reasonable comparison is to the profit obtained from related features or products. For example, the FTC should be able to fine Alphabet up to however much profit YouTube makes serving kids in the US. Unfortunately, it is widely rumored that YouTube makes no profit, and that means they almost certainly don't make much money off of kids. Still, at some point, you have to watch out that the fines don't get so big that it just makes sense for YouTube to ban all content targeting kids, at least in the US, because that would be a disaster for everyone given the amount of educational content there. Google pulled out of the China market because the moral and economic costs of complying with government regulations wasn't worth the value of the market, we don't want them doing the same thing here for specific products.


> Google pulled out of the China market because the moral and economic costs of complying with government regulations wasn't worth the value of the market..

That’s not why they left


>Imagine you had 100k in the bank. That would be like a $25 late payment fee.

If you had 100k in the bank, you could write a check to someone for 100k.

Can Google write a check to someone for $800B ?


They have over $100 billion in cash so they're not there yet, but they're not suffering either.


Compared to just YouTube’s annual income it’s not trivial


To be honest, I see quite a lot of inappropriate content on YouTube's tending section pretty often. This can't have a net zero effect on youth.


Yeah. I haven’t found any way of using YouTube that I would consider safe for children. The problems are at a fundamental level.


I think humans are a lot more robust than commonly assumed. Most of us do not break due to their mere experiences as long as their fundamental needs (food, being loved, goals and so on) are fulfilled. Once these needs are not fulfilled they may be more vulnerable though.


I feel the opposite. Based on how people (and myself) behave, humans love to prioritize short term dopamine hits with long term costs. Whether it be children addicted to YouTube, people addicted to sugar and inactivity (see obesity), refreshing Twitter/Facebook/Reddit/instagram/Hacker News for new bits of information, etc. We’re even willing to trash the planet if it gives us the satisfaction of living in single family homes with parking and some land for heavily fertilized grass.

As a species, humans are getting better at using our susceptibility of the short term pleasures to operate businesses, but the long term effects are probably not going to be desirable.


The points you are raising (addiction) seem to be somewhat unrelated to what was being discussed (inappropriate content).

Of course addictions are bad, but do you have any data supporting your claim that technology has increased the number of addicts? People vulnerable to be drawn to short-term dopamine hits have always existed, whether to food, gambling, or actual drugs.


There are many negative responses to inappropriate content, and with regards to the subtopic of "breaking", addiction is one. Addiction can exacerbate other responses such as depression or anxiety, but I wouldn't rule it out as a response.

As for increased number of addicts, I think the fact that there are technology addicts where there didn't used to be (before tech), should be a sufficient logical claim.

Speaking of which, do you have data on your specific claim on the resilience of human psychology against negative tech/media experiences?


> As for increased number of addicts, I think the fact that there are technology addicts where there didn't used to be (before tech), should be a sufficient logical claim.

No, because those people may have engaged in other unhealthy lifestyles if the technology didn't exist.

> Speaking of which, do you have data on your specific claim on the resilience of human psychology against negative tech/media experiences?

Yes, I've linked some in a comment below.


I was assuming the inappropriate content included videos such as the unboxing or adults playing with toys videos that seem to entrance children. I don't have data for technology increasing number of addicts, but my claim is that people seem to be susceptible to a number of cognitive biases that hinder their long term survival.


It is, however, important to take note of how this robustness varies with age, just what proportion of people "most" counts as, and whether the most absolute category of humans "breaking" is most appropriate when we take into account the massive variation of mental states, disorders and the entire field of media effects and child psychology.


But consider for example the link between violent video games and prosocial outcomes. The effect sizes are tiny. The downsides of additional filters will very likely outweigh anything that can be gained regarding mental health and childhood development etc. I'd wager there are much much more effective ways of improving quality of life, e.g. improving community life, reducing working hours, reduce economic inequality etc.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10964-019-01069-0

https://www.mayamathur.com/publication/metawarspreprint.pdf


I think young humans are not developed enough to understand that the media's high praise of corruptive behavior is not healthy. I think young people are growing up thinking all the outrageous and adult content on the media platforms is not just some outlier entertainment, but rather that's what their future is going to be.


What do their own folks who have children think? There must be some internal pressure on that issue but probably one of those things that get ignored.

Why don’t we hear about their internal protests to management and sit outs, etc? If they’re getting fined, it’s more than just public opinion and advocacy it’s preventing illegal activity.


Do googlers let their [young] children use YouTube? I thought parents in tech were usually more restrictive on what they allowed their kids to spend time on


Maybe not YouTube proper, but I would hope Googlers let their kids watch YouTube Kids. It would be a damning review on the product if its own engineers refuse to let their children use it.


There have been several high-profile articles in respectable magazines and newspapers lately which detail how the "tech elite" very often send their children to special schools with little or no technology, and severely limit their own children's access to technology at home.

Meanwhile, they make billions off of feeding lowest common denominator content to everyone else's children.


Probably a lot of eye rolling at the fine and whispy statements to each other like, “ they don’t understand, it takes time for the algorithms to get this stuff right.” Typical group think. They can feel like they’re doing good without actually doing it.


Define inappropriate. The worst thing I've seen is somebody who swears or makes a fair amount of edgy jokes.

I'm guessing you're outside the US since YouTube controls the trending tab pretty closely there.


Not saying these types of videos (or the ones they lead to) are trending, but you're asking for inappropriate.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/youtube-for-kids-videos-prob...


Oh yeah, there's definitely disturbing stuff on YouTube, not denying that. I just thing if most edgy think on Trending is PewDiePie, it's not too bad. I know it's hard, but kids should be with their parents anyway, when online at a young age.


Trending yes, but related videos for a trending video can get inappropriate pretty quickly, especially with music videos.

Beyond that, if they can type, it’s fairly trivial to find softcore porn, death, gore, and weirdness on YouTube.


How about softcore porn in the form of music videos? This is media kids are taking in every day.


That’s nothing compared to their ad revenue, not even a notable one time loss.


I agree. There are many people who I've seen say "this is just a warning to other companies" or "this is just the beginning" but it seems like that's always the case.

The fact is, the fine needs to be multiples of quarterly revenue. It needs to be so high not to destroy the company, but enough to make it limp and force it to borrow money to make it through. THEN these will be taken seriously. Until then, these aren't fines. These are price tags for unethical, law-breaking behavior, and these companies are more than happy to pay it.


Force them to borrow money? How big a fine we talking in your authoritarian world? How many people's jobs is it worth losing?

No. It does not need to be so damn high.

YouTube is aware of the warning, and yes it likely deserves another (order of magnitude larger) fine if they do nothing. But arbitrary fines right out of the gate just hurt everyone.


Unless they've made huge steps in their profit margins, it's still pretty big consisering they weren't profitable in 2015 [0] and likely still not profitable in 2016 [1]. The only argument you could make is the immense value of user data Google gets from YT to show relevant ads outside of the platform.

0: https://www.businessinsider.com/youtube-still-doesnt-make-go...

1: https://fortune.com/2016/10/18/youtube-profits-ceo-susan-woj...


For a large company, but it does make any new startup/competition go thru a whole extra hoop, which does favour established players.


Will this create a new virtual 18+ wall before you can view/access content/services. Not that it is illegal by any law to offer such services to those younger, just that the lawyers and the accountants sat down and concluded that the risks can outgrow the rewards.

Be interesting how the industry and various platforms navigate this whole area, but I'm mindful that they may well just cut them off period as just less hassle for them.


I'm not sure of your age but I grew up with the internet and this "18+ wall" has already existed for a long time. I don't think I know anybody who didn't lie about their birth year on a signup form at some point to get around an age check.


That's kinda the point, the whole age verification avenue has no credibility and personally I've lied for privacy reasons as why do you need the day and month if the year is 18+.

But the area of concern I was raising was such walls being used for no other reason other than risk liability exposure dictated by liability insurance costs. That with age verification systems that are that do credable checks being an area of growth thru demand. Such systems will become easier to implement and the ability to just lie, becomes much more complicated. Hence people being cut off, not thru legal reasons, but for effect - accountants. That's the worry I was raising.


The fine feels as a millionaire got fined $200 for the same violation.


I for one am glad at this though I am sure the fine could have been exponentially larger. The fact that YouTube can go here and say their platform is only intended for 13 year olds and up is a joke. Their are thousands of shows targeted directly at my kids. I can even clearly hear one video my kid likes to watch starts out with saying “look kids” so tell me how that is not directed at kids. I use an adblocker but when I go to my moms she doesn’t have it set up on her iPad. The kids shows are bombarded with ads for adult products like cars or you name it. They are marketing towards kids and I can’t stand it.


You need to be a parent and not expect regulatory fines to watch your children. You've identified a problem, you've identified the cause, and now you need to do something about it within your household.

You're literally talking about a video you let your child watch, while bemoaning the FCC needing to step in.

> The fact that YouTube can go here and say their platform is only intended for 13 year olds and up is a joke

The joke is that you understand YouTube is for 13 year olds and up, and you still allow your child on there. Personal responsibility needs to come first.

> They are marketing towards kids and I can’t stand it.

What kind of home router do you have. I'll show you how to block YouTube. Your mom can do similar things at home. There are plenty of blocking solutions out there. Which ones have you tried?


How is demanding fines not being a parent? They are not mutually exclusive.

The comment about moms blocking YouTube is a bit ridiculous. Seems hard to believe likelihood of finding one could be higher than the likelihood of finding a kid who can work around it.


One should come before the other. You should parent before calling for regulations.

> The comment about moms blocking YouTube is a bit ridiculous. Seems hard to believe likelihood of finding one could be higher than the likelihood of finding a kid who can work around it.

It is not hard to block domains at the router, and restrict the devices your child has access to. Of course they might use a friends, or find a way around it. But the OP is literally talking about overhearing the video on the couch and not doing anything about it.

That's why I asked what they tried... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOTyUfOHgas


Completely wrong, everything targeted at children (for decades) is regulated. If your kid is watching Sesame Street on PBS and an ad for The Sopranos appears - that does not happen for a reason.

Uploading cartoon nursery rhymes and having an ad for drug trafficking come up is idiotic.


It very may well be regulated, sure, but what is completely wrong exactly? Parents are responsible for their children! Is this incorrect? We can go back to how parents blame everyone but themselves when their kid steals their credit card to buy, say, loot boxes.


We don't want a society where parents have to helicopter their children. We want a society where parents can give their children gradual access to freedom.

> We can go back to how parents blame everyone but themselves when their kid steals their credit card to buy, say, loot boxes.

This is a completely different problem. Content is made for children. Those content creators don't want unsuitable ads in the content. The children enjoy watching the content. Those children don't want unsuitable ads. The parents are happy for their children to watch the content. Those parents don't want unsuitable ads.

All YouTube has to do is give content creators a checkbox: "Is this content aimed at people under 18?", then not place ads for gambling or alcohol or horror movies etc against that content.

YouTube needs to be aware that regulation is coming, and they're not going to like what the EU will impose.


> We want a society where parents can give their children gradual access to freedom.

Of course. There was another submission under which the US was called out for having less of that in comparison to Europe. As I said, kids are free to be kids around here in Eastern Europe, there are lots of playgrounds being built for them, they are usually allowed to go to school and back alone, and so on. Kids' freedom is less restricted in the name of safety.

> We don't want a society where parents have to helicopter their children.

I am not sure what exactly you mean by this. What I am trying to say is that if someone's kids buy something with their credit card, then perhaps they should find a solution to that within the household (parenting) instead of asking the Government to step in.

Regarding my example, I only meant to bring up the trend which I observed lately that some parents put the blame on everyone else but themselves, that is, they do not assume parental responsibility.

> All YouTube has to do is give content creators a checkbox: "Is this content aimed at people under 18?", then not place ads for gambling or alcohol or horror movies etc against that content.

Yes, I do agree with not placing ads targeted for adults when the videos are targeted for children. There is a solution to it right now though, namely ad blockers. Parents could install or ask their kids to install, say, uBlock and perhaps even uMatrix. They do not have to wait for the regulations. :)


It sounds like you're basically saying this: "Parents, stop complaining. Either move to a country that's safe like here in Eastern Europe where you don't have to helicopter your children in the name of safety, OR act on your parental responsibility to shelter your kids from the bad things in the world BUT don't discuss with anyone how society is broken or how it could be better."

I think the mistake you're making is assuming everything is binary. "A parent either assumes parental responsibility OR they complain about how society is corrupting their child."

But why can't a parent do both?


Then it seems like you misunderstood my points, or I failed to get them across adequately. Your children are your responsibility. If they take your credit card (and you know that it does not require any code to enter on the online bank interface to authorize/allow a purchase) and use it to buy whatever, then indeed you are at fault here, not the store. Do you need the Government to do the parenting for you? As it is, kids are not even supposed to have credit cards, and most websites have it in their ToS that if you are under X, you cannot make a purchase, and so forth. What more do you want? Camera identification each time prior to making a purchase? What about anything else, if your children swallows, say, your ring, should we blame whoever made the ring, or whoever sold it to you, everyone but the parent? Should we ban rings (at the expense of everyone else) because some parents are not capable of parenting? In my experience, this is what most people seem to be in favor of, "ruining things" for everyone because of some other people who are neglectful or reckless or whatever. This is what I am against. Feel free to make the world a safer place for children, but not at the expense of everyone else because a parent failed to do their duty. We should hold the parents responsible, and thankfully some do.

I am not telling them to not complain. They can complain freely, just as I am allowed to point out that no amount of regulations (sometimes at the expense of other people) will replace parenting. I, for one, would totally be against camera identification prior each purchase because parents cannot keep their credit card away from their children. They are also free to complain about issues that can be easily resolved were they to care enough and put some effort into it.


On a side not I would really like to point out this comment not for it's content but rather just how it starts. I just love the part how you start with "you misunderstood my point, or I failed to get them across adequately.". I just think that is such a great way to view the world. I wish everyone posted with this kind of mindset. Sometimes the inability of others to understand may be our inability to express it properly. Have a nice day.


Ad blockers don't work well on the YouTube app. I still can't get adaway to block YouTube app adds, not to mention people on iOS or without root.


I am not sure what to reply to this. Do not use the YouTube app, then?

Are you saying there are no ad blockers on iOS? I can think of two ways and I am not an iOS user: 1) you can use RSS and open in Safari which has full adblocking support, or 2) you can auto download the videos. No ads in downloaded videos.

What do you mean by "without root"? Could you give me a specific example?

Out of curiosity, what is the reason for you or your children not willing to give up the YouTube app so that you can use a browser with an ad blocker installed to avoid ads? What is that feature that you (for yourself and your children) or your children prefer over not having ads?


I was simply reply to the assertion that an adblocker is a fullproof solution, not making a grand statement.


You could pay for YouTube premium instead of trying to use third part ad blockers.


You are partially correct. Yes parents are responsible for their kids but not always. We have laws making it illegal for kids to buy alcohol. If the store sells alcohol to my kid they have broken the law and it was their responsibility to not sell it to my kid. So as you can see there are examples out in the world where yes as a parent we teach our kids alcohol is bad and for kids wait to an adult but the responsibility for not allowing that actually falls on all of society. You can't legally serve a kid alcohol. And I also believe the same will be said of Youtube. You can't serve all this content obviously directed at little kids, and lets cut the bullshit this is directed at kids or do I need to go find several videos and link to them where they into the video saying "hey kids...today bla bla bla", and then fill it with predatory ads. The TV industry was hit with this years and years ago and made a standard for tv shows so children did not get exposed to crap. Youtube surely saw this coming? They let is happen for years so again I think they deserve this punishment but wish it was even bigger.


Yes they are, but you're leaving out the most important point here. It's content SPECIFICALLY designed for babies. The onus is on the producer - whether it's toys, videos, ads - for us to have some regulation saying x is ok but not y.

By your method of thinking...let's just make everything OK for babies and let the parents decide.

That makes no sense...it's why society has laws (Why can't I go buy a bazooka in Europe? Because there are laws).


> You're literally talking about a video you let your child watch, while bemoaning the FCC needing to step in.

But other video providers can make sure that video and the ads placed against that video is suitable for children. I can let a 7 year old sit and watch uk ITV kids content for an hour and I know it'll be fine. I cannot do that for YouTube, because YT ignores the regulatory framework.

That framework is largely voluntary, so sure they don't _have_ to comply with it. But whenever this comes up (especially with taxes) people say "if you don't like non-compliance with voluntary regulation just change the law". And then, when the law is changed (eg, GDPR), people lose their shit and talk about how restrictive the law is.


> I can let a 7 year old sit and watch uk ITV kids content for an hour and I know it'll be fine. I cannot do that for YouTube, because YT ignores the regulatory framework.

That's mostly because ITV is a television network and YT is a platform, not a publisher. ITV curates the content (and the ads), YT does not. One is meant for children, the other is not, though some third parties are putting content on the YT platform aimed at children. Those are major differences. If you want to let a child alone in front of a screen, turn to television.


Isn't there a YouTube kids version? I'm not a parent so I've never used it and I've been curious since I also see that Netflix had a cordoned off sections for kids too. I'm not sure if these are sufficient content and feature wise?

Also is there any parental consent thing going on here as well with how YouTube words it?

I remember seeing plenty of adult ads as a kid watching TV at night time watching with my parents. The morning kids shows and kids channels always had ads for children of course. Id imagine it's in YouTubes interest not to show kids adult ads as well, most adults probably aren't sitting around watching the same shows with them to make the adult ads useful.


There is but it is not free from very disturbing issues (search for 'elsagate').

Also YouTube Kids has no quality controls. It uses more bandwidth, due to our hires tablet display I guess, than any other device in our household. Very annoying when on capped LTE on a trip.


You can set video quality to a lower res.


There is and any parent giving their phone/tablet to young kids should at minimum make sure it's YouTube Kids they're watching. It doesn't have ads or comments section, for example. As for its content being sufficiently filtered or not - nowadays I think it is.

We, the parents, should of course try to minimize the amount of time our kids spend with youtube or in general with phones/tablets/TVs.


Cartoon nursery rhymes directed at as low as even 1 year olds will sometimes have ads popup for a tv show containing drugs and guns. Completely inappropriate!

EVERYTHING that deals with children whether directly or indirectly is strictly regulated, and rightly so.

Television programming as an example, for 70 years only permits certain ads to be displayed on children's shows.

YouTube should be regulated by the FCC in regards to this and very easily can have a checkbox for advertisers and providers to check that says the content is for under 13 or not.


Yes.

I've complained to the UK regulator about gambling ads placed in children's content and they are paying attention.

They say it's hard because YouTube forbids (because COPPA) anyone under 13 from having an account, which means those children use their parent's accounts, and so the demographics used by the advertisers are skewed.

However, they did take action against every single gambling company I complained about because the ads were placed against children's content.


> Cartoon nursery rhymes directed at as low as even 1 year olds will sometimes have ads popup for a tv show containing drugs and guns. Completely inappropriate!

Does that still happen if you actually pay for the service via Prermium subscription? Or only if you want to use it completely free and paying nothing?


Free. Just like public broadcasting system is free and when watching Sesame Street an ad for The Wire (Or whatever came up) will not happen.


I thought having an account required 13 or over but to view a public video there are no age restrictions.


[flagged]


Because children have these things called parents, that are allowing unrestricted access to a platform that they failed to read and follow the terms and conditions of. There is also a YouTube kids app, specifically geared towards helping filter child-appropriate content and advertising policies.

I'm personally no fan of YouTube myself, as it constantly recommends channels and videos that I have no interest in and that I often find to be despicable based on my actual interests. I loathe that it does this, but I have the choice of not using it.

What would you prefer... Every site you going to require that you sign in and verify your identity before being able to use the service, and sign some type of agreement that you won't let a minor or child access it? Same goes to cigarettes and alcohol by the way.


> children have these things called parents

Please don't break the site guidelines by being snarky and taking threads further into flamewar.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Sorry


Youtube Kids doesn't work. It doesn't have the content that children want to watch, and it includes content that is not suitable for children.

Other organisations manage to provide ad-supported video content with very few problems. You can sit a child down in front of UK Channel 4 or ITV children's content and know that the ads won't be for alcohol or gambling or horror films, and you'll know the video will be age appropriate.

There are content creators on Youtube who target children. There are children who want to watch that content. There are parents who'll allow their children to watch the content. All we need now is for Youtube to not place horror film ads in that content, and not to start recommending videos to the child where people are yelling "DIE YOU FUCKING $racialslur".


[flagged]


Exponentially larger on a per user basis


[flagged]


Personal attacks will get you banned here. Would you please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting to HN?


Can you highlight which part of my post was a personal attack?


> Stop clutching your pearls and start being responsible for yourself


That number is missing two zeros for it to be anything other than a mosquito bite


This is literally a Silicon Valley plotline. Right down to COPPA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5QUZMNLT3M


I must say I'm perplexed how every single top level comment is downvoted. This isn't normal.


The topic turns out to be unusually emotional and many of the comments in the thread are pretty bad.


[flagged]


Not as far as I can tell. Many of the comments in this thread have broken the site guidelines and/or are not particularly thoughtful.

Please don't break the site guidelines by going on about downvotes or making insinuations about brigading.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


With all the complaints against Youtube, I don't know how they can still be so out of touch with everyone.

It's almost as if they're doing it deliberately. They're begging for competition to take over their unprofitable business. Nobody wants to step up.


It's a two sided market; the player with the largest catalog wins. Youtube has also negotiated the copyright minefield extremely well - starting a competitor would have to deal with takedowns.


A competitor who finds a way to deal with copyright better, has a sane advertising policy that doesn't randomly demonetizes people, with a patreon system built in, and has a modern UI (YouTube has a lot of room for improvement) it could possibly compete with YouTube.

A whole lot of major YouTube channels who are constantly attacked by false copyright claims or have to push product placements due to no ads would love to push users to a better platform. So marketing wouldn't be impossible.

They could also push privacy and fine tuned data controls which helps with kids.

There's enough of a market for two to exist.

Maybe with some type of semi decentralized platform approach so individual hosts who deal with copyright poorly can take the hit, making the system more resilient. Chrome style apps and mobile clients could be the interface and the ad/patreon system is controlled by the primary software developer but the rest is an open protocol with a linear license for non commercial stuff (at least non commercial as far as not competing with the monetization platform). The network effects of managing the ad buyers, subscriber accounts with credit cards and one click subs could stave off the competition without fully controlling the full video network and hosts.


Sure, just build a video streaming website with good UI, a good recommendation/discovery algorithm, it's own avertising network (that is able to compete with YTs excellent personalized ads while having a more creator-friendly policy), spend more on human review of copyright claims than YT, establish a revenue share system for creators, as well as a system to pay monthly pledges similar to YT channel memberships or patreon (of course both need to comply with laws and regultions of all major countries), and have the budget to finance multiple months of video streaming and encoding servers.

There's space in the market, but I don't think anyone is willing to pay for that after so many others failed.


> Sure, just build a video streaming website with good UI, a good recommendation/discovery algorithm, it's own avertising network

I'm sorry to pick on you because I also disagree with the post you replied to.

In that list, didn't you forget to mention something very important that's at the heart of this discussion?

A competitor or even google should have all those things _plus_ it should be legal.

Currently, it isn't. Either change the law or change the business model, but don't implement a business model that breaks the law and hope it will turn out fine in the end.

You can't have every business breaking laws it disagrees with, not even if some or most people disagree with that law.


This is a perfect project for a successful entrepreneur who wants to solve a hard problem just like the Duckduckgo founder.

This is the type of hard problem I'm getting more and more interested in. Someone has to bring the future open and privacy oriented Web about some day. The current model is broken and the early Internet showed us what is possible. Web 2.0 brought none of the democratization it promised largely because of the old world model it attempted to deliver it with.

Plus none of the things you listed are hard. Technical problems are easy, it's the market and growth that's hard.

I'm personally focused on Reddit, mostly theoretically atm, but YouTube is something I've considered as well.


> Web 2.0 brought none of the democratization it promised

It introduced formula "If you're not paying for a product, you are the product", while in old world model delivery of value is more about givers/takers ratio.


Web 2.0 didn't invwnt anything. Plenty of pre-web services expect you to pay them, and also sell you. Cable TV, for instance.


Well, there's at least two other competitors - Vimeo and Dailymotion - but neither has the fame or reach. And Peertube exists, but is comparatively tiny.

A big clue exists when we look at the most viewed (and presumably most lucrative) youtube videos. What do they all have in common? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-viewed_YouTube_vi...


> A competitor who finds a way to deal with copyright better, has a sane advertising policy that doesn't randomly demonetizes people, with a patreon system built in, and has a modern UI (YouTube has a lot of room for improvement) it could possibly compete with YouTube.

A competitor that grows to the size of YouTube will face all the same pressures from publishers, legislators, advertisers, and malicious actors, and will almost certainly turn into something that looks a hell of a lot like YouTube does today.

Oh, and since it'll be advertising-supported (Nobody will want to pay $10/month for a significantly-worse to slightly-better YouTube alternative), it'll also be bending over backwards to make advertisers happy... Gosh, I wonder what the likely outcome of that is going to be.

Can you even imagine pitching this to a VC?

"We're going to build a YouTube alternative that doesn't suck, that will piss off major content owners[1], and will be a haven for bad actors. We're going to be amazing, give us money!"

[1] Who will sue us for every cent that we have ever, or will ever own.


Personally only some small fraction of the creators I watch on YouTube monetize their videos and all of them have another source of income in addition to that (paid promotions, merchandice, pattreon, concerts etc.)

I think everyone would be happy without the revenue sharing.

What we really need is a good video podcast viewer.


If you aren't expecting YouTube to pay you, the list of problems that content creators has with YouTube shrinks dramatically.

The remaining problems are largely due to copyright enforcement and abuse... Which don't just magically go away, just because you're not doing revenue sharing.


Most of the people I watch have complained about copyright strikes and having their channels completely deleted without explanation (extractions and ire is an example of that.) More than their fear of demonization (I’ve only seen one complain about that.)

Most professional youtubers don’t seem to trust YouTube’s revenue sharing so why bother with it?


Any YouTube competitor will immediately be filled with stolen content, porn, and original content that violates some copyright or other.

Unless that competitor adopts an extremely pro-content-owner stance (which would put them diametrically opposed to their content creators, and render this entire experiment moot), they are going to get sued out of existence.

Why do you think YouTube's copyright systems work the way they do? YouTube's incentives are aligned with content creators - or, they would be, if that pesky lawsuit thing wasn't a constant threat.


At least in the US you're only required to investigate DMCA takedown requests which (I think) have legal ramifications for frivilous use. That's reasonable.

What youtube does is significantly more aggressive and automated. I think one of the most ridiculuous examples was a performance of 4'33 that had it's audio removed because their bot decided it violated copyright law.


It's a chicken and egg problem: users won't switch platforms until their favorite creators switch over, and the creators won't switch over if nobody's there to watch their videos.


Well in any case it's pretty clear which one needs to come first, convince the creators and they'll push existing users to the new platform.

The chicken problem is more about the ad buyers and the users, not creators. The patreon system scales better this way but the ads are what holds most back.

I know quite a few YouTube channels who tried pushing one of those awful decentralized versions of YouTube that look like Chinese knockoffs when the either the demonetization and copyright stuff bit them hard and threatened (or simply ruined) years of their hard work, but there was never a proper alternative to offer. I'm sure they'd love a legitimate alternative designed by top tier designers and developers for once.

Otherwise the creators will have no financial incentive to route users to another platform. Which is a far higher problem than not having enough other people commenting on the same video as other users.


You don't have to convince creator's to switch, just to use your new platform as well. YouTube doesn't have an exclusive license on the content.


That's where the problem is, a lot of popular content creators have contracts with large media groups which specifically prevents them to upload to another platform.


Do the media partners in turn have contracts with youtube requiring that they upload to it exclusively?

If not, maybe even if so, that might not be such a bad thing. It would mean that if you could negotiate a deal with a single media group to upload to your platform as well you get a lot of content. I don't imagine these businesses are any happier with being hostage by youtube than individual creators.


Hell, one of them (probably the most interesting one to HN readers) even has its own video platform: https://watchnebula.com

To name some of the creators: CGP Gray, Kurzgesagt, Minute Physics, Real Engineering, Philosophy Tube etc.


That'd work fine for small channels, but you can bet that the big ones do have exclusivity contracts. Not with YouTube directly, but media groups that tie them to YouTube.

In-video sponsors like Skillshare, NordVPN, Dollar Shave Club or whatever don't contact channels directly. There's someone representing them.


Nobody wants to admit this because everyone here hates ads, but they (ads) are the thing these other YouTube competitors lack and the reason they're not taking off.


[flagged]


Please don't cross into personal attack.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Extreme network effects make this an unreasonable thing to ask.


There have been plenty of attempts, nearly all of them failed (with the rest holding onto niche markets)


As I understand it, YouTube remains unprofitable to this date. What game is Google playing at here? Creators are unhappy with the strong arming, users are displeased with the ads and the comments and, well, everything. Parents are unhappy with the creepy videos targeting children. YouTube music is a travesty and is likely to fail like all the other half-baked Google products. YouTube gaming... is dead. Now they're getting fined for something they could have easily avoided.

What in the hell is Google doing, and why do they suck at this so bad? I can imagine so many better product experiences. Why can't they get their act together?


> As I understand it, YouTube remains unprofitable to this date.

Source?


Nothing recent, but Google does not disclose figures from YouTube.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/viewers-dont-add-up-to-profit-f...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/fortune.com/2016/10/18/youtube-... (not sure how to un-ampify this)


Tangential, you need to click the (i) and then click the actual url ( although they didn't actually mark it as a hyperlink). Amp is getting more and more frustrating w/ each iteration.

mav3rick 49 days ago [flagged]

Yeah right. The competition is doing so well. Try running a video hosting service within the frameworks of the law. It's still the most popular service by a longshot. Classic HN being delusional again.


Please don't break the site guidelines by snarking and calling names.

Posturing above the rest of the community isn't helpful either. If you're posting here, you're as much "HN" as anybody.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Acknowledged.


Why is my account banned?


I'm not sure, but if you email us we can probably sort it out.


Reddit, Netflix, HBO, Disney+, Twitch

Edit: Facebook, Twitter


None of those compete directly with user-uploaded content of arbitrary length. Vimeo and Dailymotion are the nearest competitors.


doesn't Facebook do that?


Do people go to Facebook directly to just watch video from their non-friends? Is it even possible? Genuinely asking, I haven’t used FB for quite some time.


Yes, people go to Facebook to watch videos.

However, I think it's too restrictive to only consider platforms to be competitors of Youtube only when the use case is analogous, and it's incorrect to imply that Facebook can only be competing with Youtube if their users exclusively use it to watch videos.

Any platform that supports video streaming is potentially competing against Youtube. The specific use case of the platform is irrelevant, only scale and mindshare matter - the degree to which people spend time there rather than on Youtube.


The platform does, in theory, although until recently it was limited to 45 minute videos OR a livestream.

Culturally, it doesn't. There aren't famous "facebookers". It doesn't even support playlists.


You do realise that Disney, HBO and Netflix are one-way distributors right? They don't even belong in that list.


We're talking about monetised, profitable, video content aimed at children.

These other companies can manage it.

YouTube can't, but importantly YouTube wants it both ways - they want to include content that targets children without providing any of the protection that parents expect.

And that expectation isn't unreasonable. We don't want parents who helicopter every waking hour of their children's lives, we want to give parents some freedoms to allow their children to explore and grow.


>we want to give parents some freedoms to allow their children to explore and grow.

But there's no reason to include youtube in that, just like you (presumably) don't include the broader internet in that.


Others have clarified how those products are different and not even close to YouTube.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: