TikTok is being investigated over children’s privacy again, report says


The UK is examining how social video app TikTok handles children’s data and whether it ensures child safety on its platform, a report says. The investigation follows TikTok paying up $5.7 million to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it illegally collected personal information from children. 

TikTok, which was previously known as Musical.ly, allows users to record themselves lip-synching to music videos and share those clips with friends. The app has reportedly surpassed 1 billion downloads on iOS and Android, with TikTok owner ByteDance now reportedly even working on developing its own phone.

The UK kicked off its own investigation in February, a parliamentary committee has been told by Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

“We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now,” Denham reportedly said Tuesday. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children … the messaging system, which is completely open … [and] the kind of videos that are collected and shared by children online.”

The FTC’s case had seen it allege that the app’s operators violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by failing to obtain parental consent before collecting personal info on kids under the age of 13. TikTok also didn’t delete the personal information after receiving complaints from parents and children.

The day following its $5.7 million payout, TikTok added online safety videos and comment filters to its app.

TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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