TikTok has been fined €345 million (about $367 million) by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) for improper management of children’s data. An inquiry was started in 2021 to determine whether TikTok complied with European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. TikTok was found to have violated the GDPR in a number of ways, according to the Irish data authority, which regulates the app throughout the European Union.
According to the Irish Data Protection Commission, TikTok by default made young users’ accounts public, which is against GDPR. It failed to take into account the risks for platform users under the age of 13 and allowed adults to send direct messages to users 16 and older.
It was specifically discovered that youngsters between the ages of 13 and 17 were guided through the sign-up procedure in a way that by default made their accounts public. It followed that their content may be viewed or commented on by anybody.
Furthermore, the “Family Pairing” tool, which lets an adult control a child’s account settings, did not confirm that the child’s parent or legal guardian was the one using it. In order to manage settings, TikTok’s “Family Pairing” connected children’s accounts to an adult’s account. The DPC discovered that adult profiles that weren’t verified could possibly be connected to children’s accounts, enabling direct messaging.
Both of these issues raised concerns from the DPC.
The platform’s efforts to block users under the age of 13 are also being scrutinised. Although age verification procedures complied with GDPR regulations, minor users’ privacy was not effectively safeguarded.
The DPC criticised TikTok’s prior default public-setting process, which permitted anyone to have their work seen by everyone, including children. For users under the age of 17, features like Duet and Stitch were automatically activated. In order to fully comply with GDPR in its data processing, TikTok now has three months. The user age verification techniques used did not violate the GDPR.
Previous TikTok fine
TikTok was fined £12.7 million (about €14.9 million) in April by the UK’s data authority for improperly collecting data from 1.4 million children under 13 without parental consent in 2020.
We respectfully object to the verdict, particularly the severity of the fines. The DPC’s criticism focuses on settings and features that existed three years ago, but we changed them before the inquiry began, such as turning all accounts for users under 16 to private, according to TikTok.
Since 2021, all TikTok accounts for users between the ages of 13 and 15 have been set by default to private, allowing only authorised individuals to view their material. These adjustments were made in response to problems that the inquiry uncovered.
More Details about of the Fine Tiktok:
Regarding age verification and privacy settings, the social networking app’s handling of children’s data in 2020 is the subject of the complaint.
The DPC has imposed the heaviest fine on TikTok to date. The investigation to ascertain if TikTok moved data from the European Union to China illegally is still ongoing. The Chinese business ByteDance owns TikTok.
This charge, however in the millions, is actually less severe than recent sanctions levied by authorities, such as the €1.2 billion fine issued by authorities in May for improper data processing when transmitting data between the European Union and China. In recent years, TikTok has taken a number of steps to improve compliance.
This DPC fine explicitly applies to 2020, and TikTok has taken additional measures to improve compliance in succeeding years, such as making all accounts for users under the age of 16 private by default.
This month, the site will make another adjustment that will automatically set all accounts for 16 and 17-year-olds to private, allowing only authorised individuals to read their information.
Professor Sonia Livingstone, who studies children’s digital rights and experiences at the London School of Economics and Political Science, applauded the DPC’s choice.
Children desire to engage in the digital world without being used or manipulated. Because privacy is a child’s right, platforms must be honest about how they handle users’ data and, more importantly, must do so fairly, according to the expert.
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