A coalition of advocacy groups say the YouTube Kids app mixes programming and ads. It wants regulators to investigate. Fred Katayama reports.
Ads Google forbids pop up on YouTube Kids. That's what a coalition of consumer and children's advocacy groups are complaining about, and they plan to urge regulators to investigate Google's new YouTube video app. In a letter they'll send the FTC on Tuesday, Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy and other groups claim the app mixes video programming and ads in ways that deceive children. The app was meant to provide content that's safer and easier for younger kids to use. But companies like Mattel and McDonald's have branded channels on the app. And the critics say those channels do things that are not allowed on TV, such as having cartoon characters sell products inside their shows. And while YouTube vows not to include food and drink ads, the groups say McDonald's channel runs commercials for its products. And they say it's not clear when videos created by users are actually paid endorsements. "What's a Chicken McNugget?" A YouTube spokeswoman said, "We were not contacted directly by the signers of this letter and strongly disagree with their contentions." Mattel and McDonald's reps weren't available for comment.