Makers of video-sharing app TikTok fined US$5.7 million for collecting children’s data

Android / iOS / Mobile / Security / Tech

It is important to note that the company did change the practice in 2017 to ban kids under 13 from joining.

The digital age has changed over the past few years as more people become aware of the power of personal data. Privacy and data security are on the lips of not only industry professionals but also the laymen consumer. This is exactly why we’re going to see more cases such as that of the TikTok app.

TikTok (formerly known as Musical.ly) is a video-sharing app targeting teen users. Like many similar apps, it allows users to exchange video messages with each other. The problem with TikTok was, the company operating the app was collecting personal information from the children using it.

The Federal Trade Commission has hit the company with a hefty US$5.7 million dollar fine for this practice. The FTC also says that this is the largest fine ever levied in a children’s privacy case. The FTC says the app was violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting data (from kids younger than 13) without parental consent.

It is important to note that the company did change the practice in 2017 to ban kids under 13 from joining. But of course, there are ways around that rule which savvy kids are using.

TikTok said in a blog post Wednesday that in conjunction with the FTC agreement, it’s starting a separate app for younger U.S. users with stronger safety and privacy protections. Children using the new app will be able to watch videos but won’t be able to share their own videos, make comments, maintain a profile or message other users.

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Privacy advocates believe that apps such as this shouldn’t be used by children at all. Advocate Josh Golin was underwhelmed by the FTC fine and are firm on keeping kids away from such apps.

TikTok should be nowhere near children and children should be nowhere near TikTok

Josh Golin – Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood

Kids privacy and data protection are important in this new digital age. But it is becoming a challenge for everyone as digital devices become the norm and an almost necessity to function in today’s world.

What do you think of this case and the FTC’s fine? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

Source: Denver Post
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