Musical.ly that is now known as TikTok has been fined by Federal regulators. To be exact, they’re fined by 5.7 million dollars for collecting the email addresses, names, locations and pictures of kids who are under 13 years old illegally. This is a record penalty for violating the child privacy law of the nation. The results of the fine from the settlement between TikTok and the Federal Trade Commission, which merged with Musical.ly in 2018, that’s based in California.
This Sounds Trouble
TikTok which is Musical.ly before lets users to create video of themselves while lip-syncing to countless of songs which includes children’s movies and is quite popular to both children and adults. As a matter of fact, a Chinese company owns TikTok. According to FTC, TikTok had over 65 million registered users in the US and from the time of this writing, it’s the 5th most popular free application on Apple and Google devices. The illegal collection of data alleged by FDC predates the merge with Musical.ly and as per officials of TikTok, it isn’t in practice.
Musical.ly operators knew that millions of children were using the app but still, they have failed to obtain parental consent prior to the collection of emails, names and several personal information from users who are under 13 years old. This is as per the FTC chairman Joe Simons.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is actually a 1998 law that is strictly limiting the collection of personal data of any online users who are younger than the age of 13. However, regulators in past years have been uncertain of how to implement the law to the general-interest sites compared to the ones that are directed at children specifically. The law is forbidding online services from data collection on children, unless, parents have given explicit permission. However, it is covering just the services that are directed at children or ones with actual knowledge that children use them.
How is TikTok Doing, Legally?
Basically, Musical.ly debuted way back in 2014 together with its successor TikTok. Since then, it’s been downloaded more than 300 million times. The original app, Musical.ly is requiring users to provide their emails, phone numbers and emails and also, post a profile picture. The FTC has noted in filing that most of the users are listing their age in the short bios. Meaning to say, the application had an actual knowledge that the user is under 13 years old. The FTC reported as well of receiving thousands of different complaints among parents of these children who were using the app. So if you are planning to buy TikTok promotion, make sure that you have no audience that is under 13 years old.