TikTok fined for misusing children data!
The popular social media platform known for its short-form videos has been fined £12.7 million by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for multiple breaches of data protection laws.
These include allowing over one million children under 13 to use its platform without parental consent in 2020, contrary to its own terms of service.
The ICO’s investigation found that TikTok had allowed an estimated 1.4 million UK children under 13 to create accounts and use its platform, despite its rules stating that users must be at least 13 years old.
This resulted in the unlawful processing of children’s data without proper consent or authorization from their parents or carers, a requirement under UK data protection law for organizations offering information society services to children under 13.
Furthermore, TikTok failed to provide adequate information to its users, especially children, on how their data was being collected, used, and shared in a clear and understandable manner.
This lack of transparency made it difficult for users to make informed choices about their engagement with the platform.
TikTok fined for misusing children data
The ICO also revealed that TikTok did not ensure that the personal data of its UK users were processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently, as required by data protection laws.
The investigation revealed that TikTok had been alerted internally by senior employees about the presence of underage users on the platform but failed to take sufficient action to identify and remove them.
John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner, stated, “There are laws in place to ensure our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws.”
The ICO initially set the fine at £27 million, but after considering representations from TikTok, the final amount was reduced to £12.7 million, as the provisional finding related to the unlawful use of special category data was not pursued.
Since concluding its investigation on TikTok, the ICO also published the Children’s Code, a statutory code of practice aimed at online services accessed by children, including apps, gaming platforms, web, and social media sites.
The code sets out 15 standards to ensure that children have a safe and positive experience with online services, focusing on protecting their personal data and privacy.
TikTok responds to ICO’s allegations
TikTok has responded to the ICO’s findings and fine by stating that it has implemented measures to improve its data protection practices, including strengthening its age verification processes and providing clearer information to users about its data collection and privacy practices.
The company has also stated that it will continue to work with regulators to ensure compliance with data protection laws and prioritize the safety and privacy of its users, especially children.
TikTok fined for misusing children’s data serves as a reminder to all online services that protecting children’s data is of utmost importance, and compliance with data protection laws, including obtaining proper consent from parents or guardian, is essential.
The Children’s Code provides further guidance for online services to create a safer online environment for children. It is crucial for organizations to proactively implement measures to protect the privacy and data of young users in the digital world.
Organizations must take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with data protection laws and prioritize the safety and privacy of all users, especially children.