Consumer Groups Want Google's Kid App Policies Investigated
A collection of organizations that monitors services marketed to children and consumers alleges Google's marketing policies in the Google Play Store are misleading and should be investigated. The groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission wherein they suggest the Family section of the Play Store is rife with content unsuitable for kids. For example, apps showed ads for casino games, forced kids to watch video ads, and steered them toward making in-app purchases. Moreover, the groups also claim a number of apps violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting phone numbers, precision location, photos, and persistent tracking identifiers — all without verifiable parental permission. In April, researchers found that thousands of free children's apps shared personal data. In October, two senators asked for a federal investigation into Google's vetting process for kid apps. Those same senators today sent a second letter to the FTC asking for "a comprehensive investigation into the Google Play store and its compliance" with rules protecting children's privacy. Google says it has already nixed thousands of apps from the Designed for Families program after finding policy violations. "Parents want their children to be safe online, and we work hard to protect them," said Google spokesperson Aaron Stein in a statement provided to the New York Times. "Apps in our Designed for Families program have to comply with strict policies on content, privacy and advertising, and we take action on any policy violations that we find." The FTC has not yet publicly commented on the letters, nor has it publicly launched an investigation.
Dec 4, 2017
Facebook today rolled out a new messaging service for children under the age of 13. Messenger Kids is a mobile application that gives kids the power to communicate via text and video with approved family members and friends.
Mar 19, 2018
Google today announced several changes to the Google Play Store and Google Play Games apps that should entice Android device owners to check out the latest games. A new feature called Google Instant Play lets people tap and try games directly in the Google Play Store and Google Play Games app without first downloading the game.
Feb 15, 2018
Facebook wants to make it easier for people to find and receive help during crisis and other events. The social network today said it will allow organizations and businesses post in the Community Help section so they may offer information and/or assistance to those impacted by adverse events.
Apr 25, 2018
YouTube has updates in store for its YouTube Kids service that will provide parents with more granular control over what their children can find and watch. Beginning immediately, Google's partners will cull together "collections of trusted channels" that range across topics such as music, sports, and arts and crafts so parents can pick and choose which their children are allowed to watch.
Apr 4, 2018
Facebook today made significant changes to its platform as it continues to deal with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica breach. To start, the company now believes Cambridge Analytica was given improper access to the data of as many as 87 million people, mostly U.S.