The TikTok video sharing application has seen its popularity increase quite a lot in the last few months, especially after merging with the Muscal.ly platform, but the way the app has increased in popularity doesn’t sit very well with the U.S. authorities.
The FTC has fined TikTok with the sum of $5.7 million for the way the company has been collecting personal information about users younger than the age of 13 without the consent of their parents, and TikTik has also made the information public.
The reason why TikTok collected data about users younger than 13 is simple: there was not age limit for using the service. Basically, anybody was able to create an account, the content was the published on the network then it was automatically distributed to other users in the video feed. TikTok even collected geo-location information about users ever since the platform was released in 2016.
The fine is the consequence of the thousands of complaints TikTok has received and because of the fact the company hasn’t done anything to fix the problems. After the fine was issued, TikTok implemented a system that requires age validation, users being required to enter their real age. Users with ages below 13 are no longer allowed to publish content. Accounts owned by people younger than 13 are no longer able to record new videos and won’t be able to follow other accounts.
TikTok has also started to release videos to educate users about how to stay safe when using the platform. The videos provide instructions about how to control unwanted messages, how to disable the “restrictive” mode, what are the rules of the platform and how to set limits for using the TikTok application.
TikTok also promised to solve every problem the platform is currently dealing with.