In legal agreements that could reshape the children’s app market, Disney, Viacom and 10 ad technology companies have agreed to remove some adware from children’s apps in order to solve the problem. categorize allegations that they violate the privacy of millions of teenagers.
The deal settles three class-action lawsuits involving some of the biggest ad technology companies – including Twitter’s MoPub – and some of the most popular children’s apps – including “Subway Surfers ”, an animated game from Denmark that users around the world have installed more than 1.5 billion times, according to Sensor Tower, an application research firm.
Lawsuits alleging companies of placing tracking software in popular children’s game apps without parental knowledge or consent, in violation of state privacy and fair business practice laws . Such tracking tools can be used to profile children on apps and devices, target them with ads, and drive them to make in-app purchases, according to legal records in the school. this fit.
Now, under agreements approved by judges in the Northern District Court of California on Monday, companies have agreed to remove or disable tracking software that could be used to target children. by advertising. Developers can still show contextual ads based on app content.
“This is going to be the biggest change in the children’s app market that we have,” said Josh Golin, chief executive of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based nonprofit. seen in business models. “Across thousands of apps, kids will no longer be the target of the craziest and most engaging forms of marketing.”
The companies in the class action did not admit any wrongdoing.
The deals come as the Federal Trade Commission is pursuing children’s privacy lawsuits against individual developers and ad technology companies. But child advocates say class-action lawsuits, involving much larger advertising technology and apps markets, could drive industry-wide changes to targeted apps and ads. to young people.
Viacom, whose settlement includes one of its children’s apps, is called “Llama Spit Spit”, Kiloo, a Danish company that developed the code “Subway Surfers” and Twitter declined to comment. . Disney, whose settlement includes its children’s apps in the US, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.