TikTok is one of the more popular social media apps in the market right now. For those unfamiliar, basically it’s a music app where users film themselves lip-syncing, dancing, or acting out to various songs or sound bytes. It has gained massive popularity where the company behind TikTok actually bought out its competitor, Music.ly.
Unfortunately the company now seems to be in a bit of a bind as the FTC has since slapped them with a $5.7 million fine (via Engadget) over COPPA violations. In case you’re unfamiliar with COPPA, it’s short for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. These are a set of privacy rules that are designed to protect children aged under 13 who use various internet services.
According to the FTC, TikTok had violated those privacies by collecting personal information about their under-13 users without their parents’ consent, and in some cases made their profiles public. The government agency also alleges that TikTok was well-aware of these issues and how the majority of their users were aged under 13, but despite the “thousands of complaints”, the company did not do anything to address it.
The app has since introduced some measures such as an age gate that will limit data collection, but given that it’s not that difficult to lie about one’s age, we’re not sure how much help that will do.