The Chinese-owned short-video platform has been fined over its handling of children’s data in Europe between the 31st of July, 2020, and the 31st of December, 2020.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), the lead regulator in the EU, has this week issued a €345 million fine to tech-giant TikTok for breaching privacy laws. In a statement, the DPC listed the platforms handling of children’s data as the reasoning behind the fines.
Between the 31st of July, 2020, and the 31st of December, 2020, TikTok allegedly failed to verify whether a user was actually a child user’s parent or guardian when linked through the “family pairing” feature. Additionally, accounts for users under the age of 16 were set to “public” by default.
While tougher parental controls to family pairing were introduced in November 2020 and the default setting for all registered users under the age of 16 was changed to “private” in January 2021, a second probe into TikTok over the transfer of personal data to China and corresponding compliance with EU data is still open.
This news comes only six months after CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before US congress as TikTok faced intense scrutiny and increasing calls for a US ban over similar claims that Chinese engineers currently had access to US data.
Amid scrutiny from international regulatory bodies, TikTok this week announced the introduction of the TikTok Shop in the US. Taking a closer step into fintech, the TikTok shop aims to help people not just find, but also shop for products. The integration brings shoppable videos and live streams directly to users’ For You feeds and enables brands and creators to connect with highly engaged customers.