The social media app TikTok is in hot water for not being able to correctly protect children from harmful content. The app, which is popular with kids and teenagers, is being investigated by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for possible violations of child privacy laws. If the ICO finds that TikTok did violate those laws, the app could be fined up to £27 million. That would be the largest fine ever imposed on a social media company for violating children’s privacy rights. TikTok has come under fire before for its handling of user data and privacy concerns. In February, the app was banned in India over security concerns. And in November, a U.S. senators called for a ban on TikTok due to national security concerns. It remains to be seen if the ICO will take action against TikTok, but this latest development shows that the app is not above scrutiny.
TikTok to be fined 27m for failing to protect children
TikTok Inc. and TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited (collectively, “TikTok”) received a notice of intent to issue a notice of potential £27 million due to the inability to protect children’s privacy from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on September 26, 2022, the office confirmed in a statement. Following an examination by the ICO, it was determined that the inability to protect children’s privacy when using the TikTok platform from May 2018 and July 2020, TikTok broke UK data protection law.
The ICO investigation discovered TikTok may have:
- Handled under-13-year-olds’ personal information without getting proper parental authorization;
- Did not give users the necessary information in a clear and transparent way and other personal data breaches.
In its statement, the ICO points out that these findings are preliminary and that, at this point, it is premature to draw any conclusions about whether TikTok has actually broken the legislation governing data privacy or whether it will be penalised. Before making any decisions, the ICO will take into account any arguments made by TikTok. The privacy of children is currently a top priority for data protection authorities around the world, including the ICO.
TikTok’s failure to protect children
TikTok has come under fire for a number of reasons, but its failure to protect children’s privacy is one of the most serious. The company has been accused of collecting personal information from kids without their parents’ consent and using it for targeted advertising. It has also been accused of deceiving young users about how their data would be used.
The ICO’s investigation is ongoing, but if TikTok is found to have violated children’s privacy laws, it could face a hefty fine. This would send a strong message to other social media companies that they need to take kids’ privacy seriously. According to the ICO, TikTok may have processed special category data, which includes genetic, biometric, and health information in addition to data on racial and ethnic origin, political and religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and union membership, without having a valid legal basis.
We all want children to be able to learn about and experience the digital world, but with appropriate data privacy protections, said the information commissioner, John Edwards.
The dangers of TikTok for children
TikTok, a phone application popular with children, is under fire for potentially violating child privacy laws. The app, which allows users to create and share short videos, has been downloaded more than 2 billion times worldwide. In the United States, it is the most-downloaded iPhone app.
While TikTok has been touted as a fun way to express yourself creatively, there are also dangers associated with the app. Because it is so popular with young children, there is a risk that predators could use the app to target them. In addition, the app collects a lot of data on its users, which could be used to exploit them or sell their information to third parties.
TikTok has faced criticism in the past for censoring certain content and not doing enough to protect user data. This latest controversy has led some officials to call for tighter regulation of the app, or even a ban on it altogether.
How to keep your children safe on TikTok
In recent months, TikTok has come under fire for allegedly not protecting its young users from inappropriate content. The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating the social media platform, and TikTok could be facing a hefty fine.
But what does this mean for parents who are worried about their children using TikTok? Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe on the app:
1. Monitor their activity: Keep an eye on what your kids are watching and liking on TikTok. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, talk to them about it.
2. Limit their screen time: Too much time on any social media platform can be unhealthy. Set limits on how much time your kids can spend on TikTok each day.
3. Talk to them about online safety: Teach your kids about online safety and privacy, including not sharing personal information or meeting up with strangers they meet online.
4. Be aware of the risks: Be aware of the potential risks associated with social media use, such as cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content. If you have concerns, talk to your kids about them.
5. Keep communication open: Communication is key when it comes to parenting in the digital age. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s use of TikTok, don’t hesitate to reach out to the platform’s customer service team for help.
TikTok has a storm coming its way , definitely not a small storm. It’s only a matter of time. The question people should be asking is whether TikTok will survive the storm. If TikTok is found guilty it will be the largest fine ever imposed on a social media company for violating children’s privacy rights. A fine of up to £27 million is not cheap despite TikTok being a billion dollar company. It will definitely feel the blow if found guilty. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.