FTC Faces Push to Study Ads Targeting Children

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Pediatricians and consumer advocates are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate practices for collecting online data about children, amid concerns advertisers might be manipulating children with targeted ads. “Advertising to children is a lucrative, booming business, and not enough is understood about these new methods of surveilling and monetizing children, or the impact that it has on their privacy and wellbeing,” according to a letter to the FTC dated Dec 5.  The document was signed by 31 groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Center for Digital Democracy. Among other things, the groups want the FTC to gather information on how companies use data about children, how popular products such as Facebook’s Instagram recognize child users, and on whether existing privacy regulations are effectively protecting children. The letter notes that advertising practices are evolving, citing for example “playable” ads for mobile phones that combine ads with a game.

FTC Faces Push to Study Ads Targeting Children Advocacy groups press FTC to subpoena tech firms during children's privacy review (The Hill)