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TikTok is again accused of endangering children

May 15, 2020

The popular app is said to have violated an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to protect underage users.

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TikTok is again accused of endangering children
TikTok is again accused of endangering children

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Tick ​​tack It may be the app of choice for boring tweens and college students, but the popular platform is (again) under the control of parents, privacy groups, and the United States government.

A coalition of 20 defense organizations accused the social network of violating an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect minors. Last year, the FTC fined TikTok $ 5.7 million for illegally collecting personal information from minors.

In February 2019, the agency claimed that Musical.ly, the lip sync app that TikTok had launched the previous year, violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by not requesting consent. from parents before collecting information about users under the age of 13. Under the terms of the agreement, the parent company’s byte dance agreed to remove all videos created by Tweens and begin compliance with COPPA. He also promised a new app experience for “younger users” that “does not allow sharing of personal information”.

However, supporters are not satisfied. The coalition, led by the Campaign for a Non-Commercial Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), filed a complaint with the FTC this week against what they call TikTok’s “predatory business model”.

TikTok has been ignoring COPPA for years, potentially trapping millions of underage children in its merchandising apparatus and exposing children to the risk of sexual predators, “said Josh Golin, executive director of CCFC, in a statement. Even after the FTC app red handed If she is caught, she continues to violate the law. We demand that [FTC] to quickly take action and sanctions against TikTok again, this time with subtle and precautionary relief in line with the seriousness of serious violations of the social network. “

Melissa Campbell, communications and operations manager at CCFC, points out that many children find the “young” version of the app useless without uploading videos or sending messages, two of the key components of TikTok. So they lie about their age and become famous on the standard platform where everyone can view information such as usernames, profile photos and home videos.

This app isn’t the only one-way organization: CDD CEO Jeff Chester also questioned the FTC’s ability to keep children safe online. “The fact that the FTC does not guarantee that TikTok will protect the privacy of millions of children, including through the use of predictive artificial intelligence applications, is another reason why there are doubts as to whether the agency can be trusted to effectively monitor them Child Rights Act, “said Chester.

TikTok did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for a comment. A company spokesman said, however New York Times: “We take data protection seriously and are committed to ensuring that TikTok continues to be a safe and fun community for our users.”