Tuesday 19th January 2021

Popular Mobile App ‘TikTok’ Charged with Children Policy Violation

The Federation of Trade Commission (FTC) charged TikTok with USD 5.7 million penalty



Popular Mobile App ‘TikTok’ Charged with Children Policy Violation

We are in a digital world where any information can no more be completely confidential.

Here comes an update about a recent violation of cyber policies by one of the mobile entertainment media app.

China-based popular video-sharing mobile app TikTok was found accused for violating cyber policies of illegally collecting the personal information of children.

For this illicit act, the Federation of Trade Commission (FTC) charged TikTok with USD 5.7 million penalty.

Now, the penalty also applies to another similar mobile app ‘Musically’ that was bought by TikTok in August 2018.

According to FTC, Musically failed to take parental consent for all its user registrations made by children under the age of 13. This violates the Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

New TikTok Users By Month (United States) from Jan 2018 to Jan 2019

New TikTok Users By Month (United States) from Jan 2018 to Jan 2019

FTC informed that the user information made public resulted in some adults contacting underage users on the platform for illicit purposes.

“The operators of the Musical.ly app were aware that a significant percentage of users were younger than 13 and received thousands of complaints from parents that their children under 13 had created Musically accounts,” FTC said in a statement.

This is the largest-ever penalty that FTC has charged to the accused under the children’s privacy policy violation.

“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 flagrantly ignore the law,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons in a statement.

While the Musically had 65 million registered users in US location, the number of underaged users is not clear yet.

“In the younger ecosystem, users cannot do things like share their videos on TikTok, comment on others’ videos, message with users or maintain a profile or followers. However, they will be able to experience what TikTok is at its core — showcasing creativity — as they enjoy curated content and experiment with TikTok’s unique, fanciful and expressive features.”

“Both current and new TikTok users will be directed to the age-appropriate app experience, beginning today,” reads a statement made in response to the incident.

It is noteworthy that Facebook has also reported a mass breach of its user accounts in 2018, where nearly 30 million user accounts were found to have been compromised through illicit advertising practices by digital marketers.

Will have to see how many digital platforms will join the list. Its high for the governments to tighten cyber policies to address such heinous cybercrimes.

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