TikTok Hit With $15 Million Fine For Exploiting Children’s Data


Matt Buckley Contributor
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Video sharing giant TikTok has been fined £12.7 million (over $15 million in U.S. dollars) for breaching data protection law, including the private data of children under the age of 13, a UK data watchdog said.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), TikTok used the data of children without parental consent, BBC reported. An estimated 1.4 million children under the age of 13 were allowed to access the platform in 2020, despite TikTok requiring that users be at least 13 years old.

The ICO went on to say that children’s data may have been used to track and profile them, with the potential of harmful and dangerous content being displayed on their accounts. According to a media report from the BBC. (RELATED: Australia Bans TikTok On All Government Devices)

“There are laws in place to make sure our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws,” said information commissioner John Edwards. “As a consequence, an estimated one million under-13s were inappropriately granted access to the platform, with TikTok collecting and using their personal data. TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had.”

A TikTok spokesperson told BBC that “our 40,000-strong safety team works around the clock to help keep the platform safe for our community.”

“While we disagree with the ICO’s decision, which relates to May 2018 – July 2020, we are pleased that the fine announced today has been reduced to under half the amount proposed last year. We will continue to review the decision and are considering next steps,” the spokesperson continued.

This is one of the largest fines the ICO has ever issued to an online company, BBC noted.