The controversial Video-sharing app TikTok has been fined with a whopping $5.7m after it was found guilty of illegally gathered the personal data of children aged 13 and under.
The US Federal Trade Commission levied the penalty amount following an investigation into the Musical.ly video sharing app, acquired by TikTok parent Bytedance in 2017 and subsequently merged with the video platform last August.
Following their investigation the US FTC said it had ‘uncovered disturbing practices’, including collecting and exposing the location of young peopleincluding names, email and addresses. TikTok was accused of ignoring requests from parents to delete the information it held.
Musical.ly first rose to prominence in 2014 by allowing members to upload short clips of themselves miming popular songs, during the registration process however users had to hand over their personal details – in violation of the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
When parents subsequently complained Musical.ly merely shutdown the specific accounts rather than delete their records.
In response to the scandal, TikTok has now set up a ‘separate’ pared down app for children, which removes the ability to share, comment, message or post a profile. It has also pulled all videos posted by pre-teens.
The Chinese government also fined Bytedance previously for running illegal medical advertisements on news items and video clips. Off late TikTok has ran in to trouble in various states of India for its content being explicit in nature.