Info-tech

American child privacy advocates file a complaint against TikTok for flouting 2019 agreement

Hemani Sheth | Updated on May 15, 2020 Published on May 15, 2020

Mumbai, May 15 A group of 20 American child advocates have filed a complaint against short video platform TikTok for violating a child privacy agreement that it had singed with the Federal Trade Commission in the United States in 2019 according to a New York Times report.

The Byte-dance owned social media platform had been under the scanner in 2019 after allegations of its earlier version Musical.ly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) had surfaced.

TikTok had paid a $5.7 million fine to the FTC in February 2019 for allowing users under the age of 13 to sign up without parental consent, The Verge reported.

Under the terms of the agreement made post-settlement, the platform had also agreed to remove all videos that had been previously uploaded by users under 13.

However, the group of child advocates privacy advocates led by the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, discovered that the platform still had videos created by children under the age of 13 from 2016.

It also stated that the company has not done enough to obtain parental consent of new users. TikTok’s policies for younger users simply “incentivise children to lie about their age,” the complaint states.

“TikTok fails to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a parent of a child receives direct notice of its practices regarding the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information,” the complaint reads. “Indeed, TikTok does not at any point contact the child’s parents to give them notice and does not even ask for contact information for the child’s parents. Thus, TikTok has no means of obtaining verifiable parental consent before any collection, use, or disclosure of children’s personal information as required by the consent decree and COPPA rule.”

The platform last month had announced a new feature called Family Pairing to provide additional controls to parents for monitoring their child’s usage of the short video app.

Additionally, TikTok had also announced that it would be disabling Direct Messages for users under the age of 16.

“Many users start their creator journey at 13 and are introduced to a wider array of app options for download, making it a critical time for teens and their families to learn about digital literacy and smart online behaviour,” the company had said in an official blog post.

Published on May 15, 2020

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Sincerely,

Support Quality Journalism
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.