The company illegally collected personal data of minors.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined the TikTok social network with short music videos for $ 5.7 million. The reason was a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act ( COPPA ). The Commission called the largest penalty in the history of such cases.
Claims to the regulator arose from the fact that TikTok “illegally collected” personal information of children under 13 years old without parental consent. As noted by The Verge, the commission also demanded that the social network remove all videos uploaded by children who were under the specified age.
Accounts [in app] are publicly available by default. This means that other users can view the biography, username, photo and video in the profile of the child.
Although the service allowed changing the privacy settings so that only verified users could follow the account, profile photos and biography remained publicly available – and other users could send personal messages to children.US Federal Trade Commission
According to some complaints received by the US authorities, adults also tried to contact the children through the application. The FTC noted that until October 2016, the service allowed searching for other users within a radius of up to 80 kilometers.
On the day of the announcement of the fine, TikTok has updated the application, which now prohibits children under the age of 13 from publishing videos on the social network. They will still be able to shoot videos (but not upload), subscribe to other users and view any content. Data of children will additionally protect, but how, it was not specified.
The measures taken are unlikely to reduce the number of children who use TikTok, TechCrunch suggested . According to the authors of the publication, minors will easily pass restrictions, indicating a greater age – as they already do on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
The FTC began checking TikTok even when the application was known as Musical.ly. The application with all users switched to a new platform in August 2018.
What is TikTok – a musical social network with short videos, ahead of YouTube and Instagram by the number of downloads
TikTok allows you to synchronize songs and your own performance, as in karaoke. This is one of the fastest growing applications in the world. TikTok has more than 500 million users, most of whom are children.