Britain’s data protection watchdog, The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined popular social media platform TikTok £12.9 million (approximately $16 million) for misusing the children’s personal data. The fine is the largest ever issued by the ICO for a data protection violation.
The ICO found that TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, had failed to obtain adequate parental consent before collecting and processing the children’s personal data under the age of 13. This is a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires companies to obtain parental consent before processing the personal data of children.
Britain’s data protection watchdog The ICO’s fine follows moves by Western governments and institutions in recent weeks.
The personal data in question included names, email addresses, and dates of birth, as well as videos that were uploaded to the platform. TikTok is popular with children and teenagers, and the ICO found that the company had failed to put adequate safeguards in place to protect their personal data.
In a statement, the ICO said: “The fine we’ve issued today should serve as a warning to all online platforms and websites that children’s privacy must be protected. We have been particularly concerned about social media platforms, and we’re pleased that TikTok has taken steps to address the issues we raised during our investigation.”
TikTok has agreed to make changes to its platform in order to address the issues raised by the ICO. This includes implementing new age verification measures, introducing new controls for parents, and improving the transparency of its data processing practices.
A TikTok spokesperson said the company disagreed with the ICO’s decision but was pleased the fine had been reduced from the possible 27 million pounds set out by the ICO last year.
In a statement, a spokesperson for TikTok said: “Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok, and we have robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, and our younger users in particular. We believe this agreement will bring closure to the matter in the UK.”
The fine is just the latest in a series of data protection violations that have been reported by social media platforms in recent years. It highlights the need for companies to take the privacy and security of their users seriously and to put in place measures to protect their personal data.
The fine issued by the ICO is a significant reminder that companies must take the protection of children’s personal data seriously. It is hoped that the fine will serve as a warning to other companies and platforms that they need to take adequate measures to protect the privacy and security of their users.