TikTok Fined Heavily due to Children’s Data Privacy

EU fine on TikTok for children data

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced a $367 million (around KES 54 billion) fine on TikTok due to the platform’s handling of children’s data. The fine stems from a privacy investigation announced in 2021.

The DPC said TikTok’s breaches included how in 2020 accounts for users under the age of 16 were set to “public” by default. Secondly, TikTok did not verify whether a user was a child when an account linked through the TikTok “family pairing” feature. Essentially, videos uploaded by minors were publicly viewable by default. In addition, comments, duets, and Stitch features were also enabled by default.

“The criticisms are focused on features and settings that were in place three years ago, and that we made changes to well before the investigation even began, such as setting all under 16 accounts to private by default,” read a statement from TikTok.

This hefty fine comes at a time when the Kenyan government wants TikTok to disable the live feature in Kenya. Additionally, the Kenyan government is concerned that minors are accessing the platform. It remains to be seen if the Kenyan government will go the EU way and fine TikTok.

Fine on TikTok Smaller than Rivals’

Earlier this year, Meta was fined USD 1.2 billion by the EU regulator. This was after being found guilty of processing and transferring data from the EU to the USA. In comparison, the fine on Meta dwarfs Tiktok’s. The platform owned by Bytedance is still under investigation for allegedly transferring data from the EU to China.

Going forth, TikTok is set to introduce a feature that sets all accounts opened by minors to private by default. The platform is also set to comply with a Kenyan directive to have a multi-step process to prevent content creators from uploading explicit content.

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