Yelp and FTC Come To $450,000 Agreement

Yelp will pay the U.S. Federal Trade Commission $450,000 to resolve the charges that it permitted children under the age of 13 to sign up through its apps.

The FTC brought the complaint against Yelp, which connects local businesses to people. The FTC stated it violated several rules such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Users, before 2009, were only able to do registration through the website. The website had a screening tool that prohibited anyone under 13 from signing up. However, that same year, Yelp developed an app-registration feature that let users sign up. However, it forgot to enact a working age-screen tool with that feature.

For that reason, the app’s Android and iOS versions allowed registrations and attained data from people who typed in their birthdates stating they were not of age. The practice was ongoing until April 2013.

Yelp announced in a post on its blog that the company and the FTC were able to come up with a settlement about the mobile registration process bug. Including birthdates on Yelp is optional already so users could register without giving it.

The FTC charged the website with COPPA Rule violation due to its failure of notifying parents of the data practices and getting their consent before information was collected from and disclosed about their children.

The settlement stipulates Yelp will get rid of all personal information on the children under 13 who signed up with the company within 30 days of the entry.

Yelp said just 0.02 percent of people who went completely through the process actually gave their birthdate. It also said it believes most of these folks were adults.

Yelp has an average of 138 million unique visitors a month.

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Posted by on Sep 18 2014. Filed under Business, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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