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YouTube Kids app is criticized again for ‘disturbing’ content

Google’s YouTube Kids app has been called out once again by two child advocacy groups for exposing preschoolers to inappropriate content.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have sent an updated complaint to the Federal Trade Commission that criticizes YouTube for failing to filter videos that are unsuitable for young children.

The initial complaint, filed last month, claimed that the app featured deceptive and unfair marketing techniques.

In the updated version, the coalition said that videos featured on the app do “not meet anyone’s definition of ‘family-friendly’” and include sexual language, jokes about pedophilia, and advertising for alcohol.

The two groups also provided the FTC with a video that documents a number of segments that aired on the app that they deem unsuitable for children.

Aaron Mackey, the coalition’s attorney at Georgetown Law's Institute for Public Representation, said in a statement: "Federal law prevents companies from making deceptive claims that mislead consumers. Google promised parents that YouTube Kids would deliver appropriate content for children, but it has failed to fulfill its promise. Parents rightfully feel deceived by YouTube Kids."

A YouTube spokesperson responded to the complaint with the following: "We work to make the videos in YouTube Kids as family-friendly as possible and take feedback very seriously. We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video."

The YouTube Kids app is currently only available in the US.

Last month another child advocacy group complained to the FTC that the app mixed programming and adverts with branded videos from companies including McDonald's and Hasbro.

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