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TikTok Fined Ksh. 54 Billion Over Children Data Privacy

TikTok

Popular social media platform, TikTok, has been hit with a hefty fine of more than Ksh. 54 billion for violating EU data protection laws pertaining to the administration of children’s accounts, including failing to protect the content of young users from public exposure.

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TikTok’s operations in the European Union are governed by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), which has found numerous instances of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform’s non-compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations. The controversy centered around TikTok’s age verification method, transparency data, and child-friendly default profile settings. Children in this case are classified as being between the ages of 13 and 17, and the DPC’s inquiry is based on the time frame between July 31 and December 31, 2020.

TikTok
TikTok App. Photo: COURTESY

The Chinese-owned video platform violated various EU privacy regulations between July 2020 and December 2020, according to the DPC, which has its headquarters in Ireland. According to the DPC’s inquiry, child user profiles by default had their profile settings set to public, allowing anybody to see any content that a child user-contributed. In January 2021, TikTok changed the ‘private’ setting to be the child users’ default.

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According to the investigation; a severe GDPR infringement occurred because the site did not give children who used it clear information about the privacy and protection of their personal information and the risks posed to users under the age of 13, particularly those who use the app in a public setting, were not sufficiently evaluated by the social media platform. This omission may have had detrimental effects.

TikTok
TikTok Fined Ksh. 54 Billion Over Children Data Privacy. Photo: COURTESY

Social media companies have a responsibility to avoid presenting choices to users, especially children, in an unfair manner – particularly if that presentation can nudge people into making decisions that violate their privacy interests.

Anu Talus, the chair for European Data Protection Board said.

In response, TikTok released a statement. “We respectfully disagree with the decision, particularly the level of the fine imposed,” a spokeswoman for the company said to Music Ally. The DPC’s concerns center on settings and features that were implemented three years ago and that we changed before the investigation ever got underway, such making all accounts under 16 private by default.

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Elaine Fox, the company’s head of privacy in Europe, addressed the judgment and penalties in additional detail in a blog post. It describes in detail what TikTok has done to address each issue brought up in the study and highlights its efforts to erase accounts by underage users, or users under the age of 13.

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