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Record fine for TikTok over children’s data

February 28, 2019

Children’s video sharing app TikTok has been handed a record fine in the US for a case involving children’s data privacy.

The company has been ordered to pay $5.7 million and implement new measures to handle users who say they are under 13.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the app, which acquired and incorporated into TikTok, knowingly hosted content published by underage users.

It has ordered TikTok to delete the data. Additionally, TikTok users in the US will be required to verify their age when they open the app (which is simply verified on a “trust” basis).

“We care deeply about the safety and privacy of our users,” TikTok said in a staetement. “This is an ongoing commitment, and we are continuing to expand and evolve our protective measures in support of this.”

“This FTC ruling underscores what we have long known: companies do not consider children’s personal information out of bounds,” Massachussets Senator Ed Markey wrote in a statement following the ruling.  “While this fine may be an historic high for a COPPA [the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act] violation, it is not high enough for the harm that is done to children and to deter violations of the law in the future by other companies.”

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