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TikTok fined $5.7M by the US FTC for violating kids’ privacy

Video content app TikTok has been penalized $5.7 million by the US Federal Trades Commission for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), after complaints that it illegally collected personal information of children below 13 years without parental consent. The complaint alleged that TikTok, then known as Musical.ly, was aware that a significant percentage of its users were younger than 13. The FTC had begun looking into TikTok when it was still Musical.ly, and said that 65 million people (or 32.5%) in the US of Musical.ly's 200 million global downloads were in the US. COPPA requires a company to get parental consent before collecting personal information from children below 13 years of age.  The complaint: violation of children’s privacy online The complaint alleges that TikTok violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by failing to notify parents about Musical.ly collecting personal information from kids below 13, obtaining their consent before doing so, and deleting that personal data at the parents’ request. Users have to provide personal information such as email address, phone number, username, first and last name, a short biography, and a profile picture to register for TikTok User accounts were public by default; a child’s bio, username, picture, and videos posted could be seen by everyone Even though the app gave an option to switch to a ‘private’ account, users’ profile pictures and bios remained public, and allowed direct messages from anybody There have been public reports of adults trying to contact children via Musical.ly Until October 2016, the app even allowed users…

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