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Home / SmartTech / FTC ruling sees Musical.ly (TikTok) fined $ 5.7M for violating children's privacy law, updated with age gate – TechCrunch

FTC ruling sees Musical.ly (TikTok) fined $ 5.7M for violating children's privacy law, updated with age gate – TechCrunch



TikTok fined $ 5.7 million for violating US A significant FTC ruling issued today. children's privacy laws, and the 13-year-olds' appeal for children under the age of 13. In an app update being released today, all users want to verify their age, and the 13-year-olds wants to be directed to a TikTok

In a bit of bad timing for the popular video app, the ruling comes on the same day that TikTok started

The Federal Trade Commission had begun looking into TikTok when it was known as Musical.ly, and the ruling itself is a settlement with Musical.ly.

The industry's self-regulatory group Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) had last spring-referred to Musical.ly to the FTC for violating US children's privacy law by collecting personal information for users under the age of 1

3 without parental consent. (The complaint, filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the Commission, is here.)

Musical.ly, technically, no longer exists. ByteDance in 2017. The app was then shut down in mid-2018 while its user base was merged into TikTok.

But its regulatory issues follow it to its new home.

According to the U.S. children's privacy law COPPA [http://www.polar.com] [http://www.pictures.org/public/publications/publications/publications/publications/publications/publications/publications/public_publications/publications/public_publications/public_publications/public_publications/public_publications/publications/public_publications/] required users to provide an email address, phone number, username, first and last name, a short biography and a profile picture, the FTC claims. The so app allowed users to interact with others by commenting on their videos and sending direct messages. In addition, user accounts were public by default, which meant that a child's profile bio, username, picture and videos could be seen by other users, the FTC explained today in its press release.

adults trying to contact children in Musical.ly, and until October 2016.

"The operators of Musical.ly-now known as TikTok-knew many children FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. "This record should be reminiscent of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate the fact that it flagrantly ignores the law."

COPPA law, of course, becomes a TikTok that is in a gray area between being oriented toward adults and being at home. Special, apps preferred by tweens and teens – like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok – are often clamored for by younger, under-13 kids, and parents often comply.

But some parents are caught guarding by these apps. The FTC says Musical.ly has had fielded "thousands of complaints" from parents because of their children under the age of 13.

In addition to the $ 5.7 million fine, the FTC settlement with Musical.ly includes

It says TikTok is now considered a "mixed audience" app, which means it needs to be implemented on the app. Instead of locking out under-13 users from the TikTok service TikTok from collecting the personal information argued by COPPA.

TikTok is complying with the ruling by making significant changes to its app 13

Instead, the under-13 crowd just wants to be able to download content and follow users. They want to be able to create and save videos – TikTok network. TikTok via a private account.

As TikTok already has a large number of younger kids on it, it wants to push the app update today to both new and existing users alike. TikTok, however.

TikTok, however. Kids today know how to pop-ups so they can enter a restricted app.

However, the move at least puts TikTok on a level playing field with other "mixed audience" apps instead of allowing it to pretend US children's privacy laws do not exist.

TikTok reportedly a billion times worldwide, according to recent data from Sensor Tower. The company does not publish its figures, but the FTC says since 2014, more than 200 million users have downloaded the Musical.ly app worldwide, with 65 million accounts registered in the United States.

staff to refer the complaint to the Department of Justice. Commissioner Rohit Chopra and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a separate statement, shared below:

The Federal Trade Commission's action to crack down on the privacy practices of Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, is a major milestone for our Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) enforcement program. Agency staff uncovered disturbing practices, including collecting and exposing the location of other sensitive data of young children. In our view, these practices reflect the company's willingness to pursue growth at the expense of endangering children. The agency secured a record-setting civil penalty and deletion of ill-gotten data, as well as other remedies to stop this egregious conduct.

This investigation began before the current Commission was in place. FTC investigations typically focus on individual accountability only in certain circumstances-and-the-effect have these been at large companies have often avoided scrutiny. We should move away from this approach. Executives of big companies who break the law should be held accountable.

Whenever a company makes a business decision to violate or disregard the law, the commission should identify and investigate those individuals who made or ratified that decision and evaluate whether to charge them. As we continue to pursue violations of law, we should prioritize uncovering the role of corporate officers and directors and hold accountable everyone who broke the law.


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