The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a fine on TikTok for allowing access to its social networking app by 1.4 million children under the age of 13. This action violates TikTok’s own terms of service and breaches the country’s data protection laws, which require parental consent before companies like TikTok can grant access to children under 13 for services involving the collection of personal data.
According to the ICO’s press release, TikTok failed to obtain the necessary consent and was aware that children under 13 were using the platform. Moreover, the company did not implement adequate measures to identify and remove underage users from its platform. The ICO’s investigation revealed that some senior employees had raised concerns internally about children under 13 using the platform without being removed, but TikTok did not respond adequately to these concerns.
The somewhat positive aspect of this situation for TikTok is that the fine imposed by the ICO is significantly lower than the original £27 million fine that was initially planned. The company will now need to address these issues in order to ensure compliance with data protection regulations and safeguard the privacy of its younger users.