Apparently YouTube has been catching a lot of flack from parents, family-centric non-profits, mommy bloggers and the like because their newly launched Kids app has done an incredibly poor job of filtering out adult-oriented content like the hilarious Burt & Ernie sketch above, over-dubbed with f-word-laden dialogue from Scorsese's Casino. Not only have kids watching YouTube Kids been targeted with beer ads and lectures on suicide, as Consumerist reports, but the app doesn't seem to be able to figure out that the Sesame Street clip above is a far cry from actual Sesame Street content. So much for the combination of "automatic algorithms and user feedback" that Google hopes are doing the job to filter out such material.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, a coalition of child and consumer advocacy groups submitted a formal letter of complaint to the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday stating that a review of the app came up with a bunch of "extremely disturbing and/or potentially harmful for young children to view" including, but not limited to, "jokes about pedophilia and drug use; activities such as juggling knives, tasting battery acid, and making a noose; and adult discussions about family violence, pornography, and child suicide."
Last month the FTC was already asked to review another complaint by a larger group of child advocates having to do with targeted advertising on the app from companies like McDonald's that they felt was inappropriate or misleading.
Below, a compilation of the obviously non-kid-friendly stuff that's been shown or "recommended" on YouTube Kids, including a hilarious and decidedly adult number from Family Guy.
Google appears to be caught somewhat off-guard by all this, but a spokesperson says that they are "tak[ing] feedback very seriously."