TikTok fined £12.7m for misusing children’s data


TikTok has been fined £12.7m for breaches of data protection law, including using the personal data of children aged under 13 without parental consent.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office said the Chinese-owned video app had not done enough to check that its users were over 13 and it had also not done enough to remove the accounts of underage users.

The watchdog estimated that TikTok allowed as many as 1.4 million children under 13 in the UK to use its platform in 2020 – even though 13 is the minimum age to create an account.

UK Information Commissioner John Edwards said: “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.”

He added: “TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better.

“Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had.

“They did not do enough to check who was using their platform or take sufficient action to remove the underage children that were using their platform.”

More on Tiktok

He also said that children’s data may have been used to track and profile them, with the risk that they could be shown harmful or inappropriate content.

Read more:
TikTok to be blocked from parliamentary devices and network over cyber security fears
TikTok ‘not an agent of China’, chief executive Shou Zi Chew says

A TikTok spokesperson said the company disagreed with the ICO’s decision but was pleased the fine had been reduced from the possible £27m set out by the ICO last year.

“We invest heavily to help keep under 13s off the platform and our 40,000 strong safety team works around the clock to help keep the platform safe for our community.

“We will continue to review the decision and are considering next steps.”

TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance and many countries, including the UK, have raised concerns over its proximity to the Chinese government.

The UK has recently banned the app on government phones, with similar bans announced by Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

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