Social media firm, TikTok, has been fined £12.7 million by the United Kingdom data watchdog, Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The regulator, on Tuesday, fined TikTok for “misusing” children’s data, increasing the pressure on the social media firm, which has been restricted from government-owned phones in the UK.
UK has been expressing concerns over TikTok’s handling of users’ data, and following investigation, ICO says the video-sharing application has breached the data protection laws.
According to findings after the investigation, it was discovered that the breach occurred for two years, between May 2018 and July 2020.
ICO said TikTok flouted its own company rules by allowing 1.4 million children under the age of 13 in the UK to access its platform.
This was also a disregard of UK data protection law which says parental consent must be obtained by social media platforms processing personal data of children under 13 years.
Commenting on the fine, the UK’s information commissioner, John Edwards, said: “There are laws in place to make sure our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws.
“As a consequence, an estimated one million under 13 seconds were inappropriately granted access to the platform, with TikTok collecting and using their data.
“That means that their data may have been used to track them and profile them, potentially delivering harmful, inappropriate content at their very next scroll.
“TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had.”
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