TikTok to pay $ 5.7 million for collecting children's data
Success often comes at a price. For the company behind the video clip app TikTok, that just happens to be in the form of a record fine.
According to a Feb. 27 Federal Trade Commission statement, the app was formerly known as Musical.ly illegally collected data from children under the age of 1
" The operators of Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, FTC Chairman Joe Simons, knew that they were still failing to seek their consent before collecting names, email addresses, and other personal information from users under the age of 13 said in a statement.
The app, which has been downloaded 1 billion times, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is responsible for the proliferation of bizarre lip-synching (and finger eating) videos in your Twitter feed. TikTok is not exactly a vine replacement, but rather represents an evolution in the looping video genre. TikTok with a viral clip app of its own.
Importantly, when TikTok was just starting under the name Musical.ly, profiles were set as public by default. According to the FTC, even if a profile was set to private, strangers could be silent. You can imagine how this might be problematic if, say, a Musical.ly, account belonged to 11-year-old.
"In fact, as the complaint notes, there have been public reports of adults trying to contact children via the Musical.ly app," notes the FTC press release. "In addition, until October of 2016, the app will include a 50mile radius of their location."
That's not good.
TikTok tweeted a video today showing users how to turn off DMs altogether.
The company thus announces a "separate app experience" that comes with extra privacy protections for young users.
"Beginning today, TikTok environments, in line with FTC guidance for mixed audience apps," reads a company press release.
Of course, TikTok's newfound dedication to keeping children off their platform is running into a few glitches. In some cases, TikTok is requesting that newly locked-out users submit copies of their government ID.
Profiles> Privacy and Settings> Report a Problem> Add a contact email
– TikTok (@tiktok_us) February 27, 2019
Just another day in viral video app paradise.