The Federal Trade Commission has been on a warpath this summer when comes to dealing with technology companies. Even more specific is dealing with companies who allow kids to slip past, violating COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). The latest company to settle is Yelp who will be paying $450,000.
The FTC stated that Yelp’s mobile app wasn’t strict enough in screening users between 2009 and 2013, the period their original complaint covered. The app simply allowed users of any age register and go on to post pictures and reviews of establishments. As with most companies and their apps, data is collected for advertising, location, and improvement purposes among others.
That is where Yelp ran afoul of COPPA. Since there was no age filter at the time, data was collected of minors under the age of 13. The settlement will see Yelp make changes to their privacy rules to be in line with COPPA, inform the FTC of any future changes to policy and report to FTC on their progress in enforcing their policy. Yelp will also need to keep track of complaints for ten years.
The company stated that users who were shown to be underage per registration fell below 1 percent. Joking about the situation, Yelp added “Yelp doesn’t promote itself as a place for children, and we certainly don’t expect or encourage them to write reviews about their plumbers, dentists, or latest gastronomic discoveries.” The company went on to say that the underage accounts were closed down and that they were more than happy to work with the FTC in being COPPA compliant.
SOURCE: Yelp Official Blog