TikTok under fire for illegally collecting data of children under 13 years without consent

TikTok has been unable to make reasonable efforts to ensure that child's parents are notified of its practices regarding use.

The popular video-sharing application TikTok has been accused of collecting the data of minors in several complaints.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with users and child advocacy groups, has filed the first complaint against the app.

Tiktok, owned by China’s ByteDance, is under investigation for breaking a previous legal settlement with the FTC. Under the agreement, they were not allowed to collect the personal data of children under 13 years of age without the consent of their parents.

The Settlement

The settlement was made last year after TikTok confessed that Musical.ly had breached the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) by gathering data of kids under 13 years old.

In the agreement, it was assured that TikTok would seek parents’ permission before obtaining any sort of information and would also discard all the previously stored data of underage users. The settlement was finalized with a $5.7 million fine.

Settlement Breach

However, the FTC is now claiming that TikTok did not fulfill its part of the deal.

It claims that TikTok has accounts of children who are under the age of 13. Many of these children’s accounts have videos uploaded from as far back as 2016 which is years prior to the consent decree.

‘’TikTok hasn’t obtained parental consent for these accounts’’, users complain.

Contrary to the terms of the consent decree, TikTok has also been unable to make reasonable efforts to ensure that child’s parents are notified of its practices regarding use, disclosure, or collection of personal information.

The FTC is conducting an investigation into the matter, which can result in additional penalties against TikTok and the introduction of new regulations to make sure that a child’s information is protected.

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