THE PONY EXPRESS

TikTok’s Privacy Invasion

Julia Booth, Reporter

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A seemingly harmless app in which people of all ages can enjoy by lip-syncing to songs has
recently agreed to pay a whopping $5.7 million to settle allegations that it illegally collected
personal information of children under the age of 13, such as names, email addresses, and
locations.
TikTok and Musically merged last August under the company Bytedance and has more than half
a billion users worldwide. The US Federal Trade Admissions revealed that they had “uncovered
disturbing practices, including collecting and exposing the location” of young children.
According to the FTC, numerous parents had filed complaints over this issue, but that the
company had failed to comply with requests to delete this information. This all violates the US
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and in addition the app failed to obtain necessary
“verifiable parental consent” before collecting and using children’s personal information.
As part of TikTok’s settlement with FTC, the app must take down all videos of children under
age 13 and they have also stated that they are working towards protective measures for users
that include tools for parents. This includes a new younger users app experience where they
cannot do certain operations such as share their videos, comment on others’ videos, message
with users, or maintain a profile or users, though this seems admittedly a bit confusing as to
how this would work.

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