Video clip app TikTok fined for illegally collecting kids’ data
Washington, March 3: Video clip app TikTok has been slapped with a record fine on charges of illegally collecting data from children aged below 13. The US's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a statement on February 27 that the app, earlier known as Musical.ly, did the illegal and was fined a whopping $5.7 million civil penalty.
"The operators of Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, knew children were using the app but they still failed to seek parental consent before collecting names, email addresses, and other personal information from users under the age of 13," FTC chairman Joe Simons said in a statement, Mashable India reported.
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and has been downloaded a billion times. It represents an evolution in the looping-video game and even Facebook tried to rip the app off with a viral clip app of its own, Mashable reported.
It was said that when TikTok started under the name Musical.ly, profiles were set as public by default. As per the FTC, even if a profile was set to private, unknown people could still send direct message to the account and if that account is owned by a kid, it could lead to all sorts of trouble.
"In fact, as the complaint notes, there have been public reports of adults trying to contact children via the Musical.ly app," the FTC press release said. "In addition, until October 2016, the app included a feature that allowed users to view other users within a 50-mile radius of their location."
The company though has announced a "separate app experience" that comes with added privacy protection for youngsters.