The Popular and fast-growing video-sharing platform TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to US authorities to settle charges that it illegally collected personal information from children.
The penalty by the social network, which had been formerly known as Musical.ly, was the largest ever in a children’s privacy investigation, said the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC officials stated that TikTok failed to obtain parental consent from its underage users as required by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
“TikTok knew many children were using the app, but they still failed to seek parental consent before collecting names, email addresses, and other personal information from users under the age of 13,” said FTC chairman Joe Simons.
“This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children: We take enforcement of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate companies that ignore the law.”
TikTok has already become a global platform and marked its footprint in over 150 countries and regions, including India. It claimed some 500 million users worldwide last year, making it one of the most popular worldwide apps.
Designed for the new generation of creators, TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through short-form videos.
TikTok has faced criticism around the world for featuring sexually suggestive content inappropriate for children. The company now stated that as part of its agreement with regulators it would create a “separate app experience” for younger users with additional privacy protections.
The statement reads “It’s our priority to create a safe and welcoming experience for all of our users, and as we developed the global TikTok platform, we’ve been committed to creating measures to further protect our user community — including tools for parents to protect their teens and for users to enable additional privacy settings.”