FILE PHOTO: The TikTok brand is seen on a display screen over Times Square in New York City, U.S., March 6, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
May 14, 2020
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of privacy advocacy organizations is submitting a criticism with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday alleging that the favored app TikTok violated a consent decree and a legislation defending children’s privacy on-line.
The Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and others mentioned TikTok had did not take down all movies made by kids underneath the age of 13, because it agreed to do underneath a consent settlement with the FTC introduced in February 2019.
TikTok spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide mentioned in response to the brand new criticism that “we take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users.”
As a part of the consent settlement, the FTC had mentioned that TikTok, then referred to as Musical.ly, had identified that younger kids used the app and had did not get parental consent to gather their names, e mail addresses and different private info. It paid a effective of $5.7 million.
But, the privacy advocates mentioned, TikTok did not delete private details about customers age 12 and youthful because it had promised as a part of the consent settlement.
“We found that TikTok currently has many regular account holders who are under age 13, and many of them still have videos of themselves that were uploaded as far back as 2016, years prior to the consent decree,” they mentioned of their criticism.
TikTok’s determination to create accounts for youngsters age 12 and underneath which have much less performance failed to satisfy necessities of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act as a result of the corporate nonetheless collects info, which it shares with third events that need it for promoting. Also, kids can simply keep away from utilizing the youngsters’ model of the app by being dishonest about their age, the teams mentioned.
In addition, TikTok fails to publish on its homepage an easy-to-find hyperlink to its privacy coverage, the teams mentioned.
“TikTok continues to be one of the most popular apps in the world, and it is widely used by children and teens in the United States, so it is especially important that the FTC promptly and thoroughly investigate TikTok’s practices and take effective enforcement action,” the teams mentioned of their criticism.
Other teams signing on to the criticism embrace Berkeley Media Studies Group, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports and Electronic Privacy Information Center.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler and Gerry Doyle)