EU Slams a Fine on TikTok Over Violations of Children’s Privacy
As reported by the Guardian, TikTok Faces Potential Multi-Million Pound Fine for Violating Children’s Privacy, EU Data Protection Regulator Rules.
In a surprising turn of events, TikTok, the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform, is being slammed with a fine, possibly amounting to millions of pounds, for infringing on children’s privacy. The decision comes as a ruling from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), which has deemed TikTok’s handling of children’s data to violate privacy regulations.
The EU’s decision comes after an investigation initiated in 2021 by the data protection commissioner in Ireland. This investigation focused on assessing TikTok’s commitment to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how it handles the data of children aged from 13 to 17 years.
Last Friday, TikTok released new features designed for European users. These updates are designed to enhance compliance with the recent European Union content regulations, expected to be effective from August 25.
According to the EU’s Digital Service Act (DSA), TikTok, Google, Facebook, and other major online platforms must regulate illegal content on their sites, restrict specific advertising methods, and cooperate with authorities by sharing data.
After TikTok’s voluntary participation in a “stress test” at its Dublin Headquarters last month, the EU Technology Commissioner of the European Union, Thierry Breton, emphasized that the company needs to put more effort into fully complying with the privacy regulations.
While talking to CNN, Breton said:
“TikTok is dedicating significant resources to compliance. Now it’s time to accelerate to be fully compliant.”
On Friday, the company announced new DSA compliance measures, including making the process simple for EU users to report illegal content, allowing them to disable personalized video suggestions, and deleting targeted advertising for children from 13 to 17 years.
It said: “We will continue to not only meet our regulatory obligations but also strive to set new standards through innovative solutions.”
Earlier this year, TikTok encountered legal repercussions when the UK data watchdog imposed a £12.7 million fine. This penalty was linked to the unlawful data processing of approximately 1.4 million children under 13 who had utilized the service without obtaining parental consent.
The British Information Commissioner has issued a scathing critique of TikTok, asserting that the company has taken minimal action, if any at all, to verify the age of its users and to expel those who are underage. This rebuke comes in light of revelations that TikTok had been internally alerted about its terms and conditions violations yet failed to take adequate measures to rectify the situation.
A survey conducted in 2022 by the UK’s Ofcom regulator revealed that over 60% of youngsters aged 8 to 17 years old who use social media had their own TikTok accounts.
These events highlight the increasing regulatory attention on digital platforms, especially protecting young users’ privacy and data rights. As TikTok deals with the consequences, the broader tech industry must consider the changing data protection landscape and the possible outcomes of not adhering to regulations.