The leading short-form video platform and social network, TikTok, was fined with payment £12.7 million, which is equivalent to almost 16 million dollars, this due to not protecting the privacy of children under 13 years of age, as reported to the media by the UK data watchdog. Several irregularities were detected: use of the social network by minors, unclear information, lack of guarantees in the way of data collection, non-deletion of minors’ data, possible use thereof.
Through an investigation coordinated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), it was shown that more than 1 million underage children used the social network in 2020. Notwithstanding, the platform’s own rules do not allow children under 13 years of age to open an account. Specifically, the UK data protection law establishes that organizations that make use of personal data when offering services to children under that age must have the consent of their parents or guardians.
In turn, the platform did not present detailed and understandable information to the users of the social network on the way in which collect, use and share your data. The relevance of this lack on the part of the platform lies precisely in the fact that it is difficult for users, particularly in the case of children, to be able to make correct decisions based on information that is not very understandable and not very detailed.
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On the other hand, the social network did not duly guarantee that all the personal data collected among its users has been processed in a legal, fair and transparent manner. The control body’s investigation also found that an internal inquiry had been made in due time with respect to some high-level employees about whom children under 13 years that were detected were using the platform and were not eliminated. But the social network never gave an adequate response to the request.
TikTok did not comply with the regulations that protect minors
Based on all breaches and irregularities detected The resolution of the control body was forceful when publishing a statement: “There are laws to guarantee that our children are as safe in the digital world as in the physical world. TikTok did not comply with those laws. As a consequence, approximately one million children under the age of 13 were granted inappropriate access to the platform, and the social network collected and used their personal data,” said the head of the entity, John Edwards.
Ademan stressed that the fact that the platform have not protected the data of minors, could imply that the data has been used to track and profile them, with the consequent generation of harmful and inappropriate content.
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A fine to the extent of failures
Undoubtedly, with the high sum that was applied as a fine, they want to transmit a key message regarding the gravity of the faults incurred by the social network. “TikTok should have known better and should have done better. The fine of 12.7 million pounds reflects the serious impact that its failures may have had ”, they affirmed from the control committee.
It should be noted that these controls also occur in a context of further investigations and when just a month ago the United Kingdom prohibited all its officials from using the TikTok platform on their professional mobile devices.
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