The United Kingdom regulator has fined the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok almost USD 16 million for a number of ‘data protection law’ breaching, including misusing children’s personal data, according to CNN.
UK’s information commissioner’s office fined TikTok USD 15.9 million and estimated that the video-sharing platform allowed over 1 million children under 13 to use its platform in violation of its own rules in 2020.
On Tuesday, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) stated that the video-sharing platform had not done enough to see who, at what age, the audience is accessing their platform. TikTok also failed to take action to remove underage children and hadn’t provided proper information to users about how their data was being collected and used. The fine applies to rule breaches between May 2018 and July 2020.
“There are laws in place to make sure your children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws,” John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner said.
He added, “TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better.”
A spokesperson for TikTok told CNN that the company “invest[s] heavily to help keep under 13s off the platform” and that it disagreed with the ICO’s decision.
“Our 40,000-strong safety team works around the clock to help keep the platform safe for our community,” the spokesperson said.
The fine comes as a string of Western countries turns their back on the Chinese-owned video streaming platform.
Earlier, Australia, France, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and India, in a very initial phase, banned the TikTok app from all devices with access to the country’s parliament by the end of March.
Australia will ban the use of TikTok on government devices “as soon as practicable,” the country’s attorney-general announced earlier on Tuesday, citing security concerns, according to CNN.