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UK set to fine TikTok for breaching children safety



The UK says it may fine the company $29 million for violating kids’ privacy

Ask anyone under the age of 18 to name their favourite app, and there’s a good chance they’ll say “TikTok.”

The short-form video platform has taken the world by storm in recent years, thanks to its addictive mix of user-generated content and algorithm-driven recommendations.

However, it turns out that TikTok may have crossed a line when it comes to its youngest users.

The UK’s data privacy regulator is investigating whether TikTok violated children’s privacy law by processing data of kids under 13 without parental consent.

If found guilty, the company could be fined up to £27 million (about $29 million).

In a legal document notifying TikTok of the possible fine, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office says TikTok may have processed sensitive categories of data “without legal grounds,” and may have failed to provide information to its users transparently enough.

So what does this mean for TikTok’s future in the UK?

According to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, TikTok may have violated children’s privacy law by processing data of kids under 13 without parental consent.

The ICO is also investigating whether TikTok collected sensitive categories of data without legal grounds and failed to provide information to its users transparently enough.

If found guilty, TikTok could be fined up to $29 million. That would be a drop in the bucket for a company like ByteDance, which is valued at over $75 billion.

However, it would be a big deal for TikTok in the UK, where the app has been downloaded over 32 million times.

How Did This Happen?

It’s important to note that there is no evidence that any user data was actually mishandled or misused by TikTok.

Rather, the ICO is concerned that TikTok may have collect children’s data without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

TikTok has always maintained that it has a separate app called “Tik Tok Kids” for users under the age of 13.

However, according to the ICO, some children were able to bypass these age restrictions and create accounts on the main TikTok app. As a result, their data may have been collected without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

What Happens Next?

It’s still unclear what will happen next in this case. The ICO is currently in talks with ByteDance about possible resolutions, but no decisions have been made yet.

In the meantime, TikTok will continue to operate as normal in the UK.

But if found guilty, this would be a big deal for TikTok in the UK, where the app has been downloaded over 32 million times.

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.


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