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UK set to fine TikTok for breaching children safety

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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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Tesla is slashing prices to stay competitive

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Tesla cut the U.S. prices of its Model Y, Model X and Model S vehicles by $2,000 each, days after the first-quarter deliveries of the world’s most valuable automaker missed market expectations.

Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle (EV) maker lowered the prices for its Model Y base variant to $42,990, while the long-range and performance variants are now priced at $47,990 and $51,490, respectively, according to its website.

The basic version of the Model S now costs $72,990 and its plaid variant $87,990. The Model X base variant now costs $77,990 and its plaid variant is priced at $92,900.
Tesla North America also said in a post on X said it would end its referral program benefits in all markets after April 30.

Referral program allows buyers to get extra incentives through referrals from existing customers, a strategy long used by traditional automakers to boost sales.

Musk has postponed a planned trip to India where he was to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce plans to enter the South Asian market, Reuters reported on Saturday.
On Monday Reuters reported, citing an internal memo, that the EV maker was laying off more than 10% of its global workforce.
Earlier this month Reuters reported the EV maker had canceled a long-promised inexpensive car, expected to cost $25,000, that investors had been counting on to drive mass-market growth.
The EV maker reported this month that its global vehicle deliveries in the first quarter fell for the first time in nearly four years, as price cuts failed to stir demand.

Tesla is to report first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

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TikTok launches Instagram competitor ‘Notes’

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TikTok Notes has launched in Australia & Canada as a formidable competitor to Instagram, offering a unique platform for content creation, text and sharing.

“TikTok Notes is a lifestyle platform that offers informative photo-text content about people’s lives, where you can see individuals sharing their travel tips and daily recipes,” reads the official App Store description.

Take note

The app allows users to create content by combining short videos with text-based notes, closely resembling that of Meta’s Instagram.

Whether it’s sharing a quick tutorial, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking message, TikTok Notes is positioned to be a formidable social media platform.

Currently, the app is only available for download and “limited testing” in Australia and Canada.

As it gains momentum, the platform is poised to contest Instagram’s established reign in the social media landscape.

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Ramifications of a TikTok ban to impact Open Internet

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The United States’ longstanding advocacy for an open internet faces a critical juncture as Congress considers legislation targeting TikTok.

The proposed measures, including a forced sale or outright ban of TikTok, have sparked concerns among digital rights advocates and global observers about the implications for internet freedom and international norms.

For decades, the U.S. has championed the concept of an unregulated internet, advocating for the free flow of digital data across borders.

However, the move against TikTok, a platform with 170 million U.S. users, has raised questions about the consistency of America’s stance on internet governance.

Read more – Big tech to handover misinformation data

Critics fear that actions against TikTok could set a precedent for other countries to justify their own internet censorship measures.

Russian blogger Aleksandr Gorbunov warned that Russia could use the U.S. decision to justify further restrictions on platforms like YouTube.

Similarly, Indian lawyer Mishi Choudhary expressed concerns that a U.S. ban on TikTok would embolden the Indian government to impose additional crackdowns on internet freedoms.

Moreover, the proposed legislation could complicate U.S. efforts to advocate for an internet governed by international organizations rather than individual countries.

China, in particular, has promoted a vision of internet sovereignty, advocating for greater national control over online content.

A TikTok ban could undermine America’s credibility in urging other countries to embrace a more open internet governed by global standards.

 

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