Even a 7 year-old can potentially run afoul of the Federal Trade Commission, apparently.
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Truth In Advertising, a Connecticut non-profit that seeks to protect consumers from advertising and marketing that deceives people, filed a complaint with the FTC on Aug. 28 regarding the content of the popular and profitable YouTube channel, Ryan ToysReviews.
The non-profit organization claims Ryan ToysReviews, which reportedly earns $22 million a year, "deceptively promotes a multitude of products to millions of preschool-aged children in violation of FTC law."
The channel features 7-year-old Ryan Kaji reviewing toys for children with the help of Ryan's parents, Shion and Loann. Beginning in 2015, the channel has more than 20 million subscribers and more than 30 billion views.
“The well-being of our viewers is always the top priority for us and we strictly follow all platforms’ terms of service and all existing laws and regulations, including advertising disclosure requirements," Shion Kaji said in a statement to Fox Business. "As the streaming space continues to quickly grow and evolve, we support efforts by lawmakers, industry representatives, and regulators such as the FTC to continuously evaluate and update existing guidelines and lay new ground rules to protect both viewers and creators."
Ryan's YouTube channel allegedly clouds the difference between advertising and original content for children under the age of five, according to Truth in Advertising's complaint.
"This age is critical as research shows that children under the age of five are unable to understand or even identify the difference between marketing material and organic content," the complaint states.
According to Truth In Advertising, numerous major companies have sponsored endorsements on Ryan ToyReviews' YouTube channel, including Colgate, Chuck E. Cheese, Nickelodeon.