TikTok slapped with $368 million fine under Europe's strict data privacy rules

Posted By: Vanshika Pathak Posted On: Sep 15, 2023
FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2020 file photo, a view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File) (AP)

European regulators slapped TikTok with a $368 million fine on Friday for failing to protect children's privacy, the first time that the popular short video-sharing app has been punished for breaching Europe's strict data privacy rules.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission, the lead privacy regulator for Big Tech companies whose European headquarters are largely in Dublin, said it was fining TikTok 345 million euros and reprimanding the platform for the violations dating to the second half of 2020.

The investigation found that the sign-up process for teen users resulted in settings that made their accounts public by default, allowing anyone to view and comment on their videos. Those default settings also posed a risk to children under 13 who gained access to the platform even though they're not allowed.

Also, a “family pairing" feature designed for parents to manage settings wasn't strict enough, allowing adults to turn on direct messaging for users aged 16 and 17 without their consent. And it nudged teen users into more “privacy intrusive" options when signing up and posting videos, the watchdog said.

TikTok said in a statement that it disagrees with the decision, “particularly the level of the fine imposed."

The company pointed out that the regulator's criticisms focused on features and settings dating back three years. TikTok said it had made changes well before the investigation began in September 2021, including making all accounts for teens under 16 private by default and disabling direct messaging for 13- to 15-year-olds.

“Most of the decision's criticisms are no longer relevant as a result of measures we introduced at the start of 2021 — several months before the investigation began," TikTok's head of privacy for Europe, Elaine Fox, wrote in a blog post.

The Irish regulator has been criticized for not moving fast enough in its investigations into Big Tech companies since EU privacy laws took effect in 2018.

For TikTok, German and Italian regulators disagreed with parts of a draft decision issued a year ago, delaying it further.

To avoid new bottlenecks, the Brussels headquarters of the 27-nation bloc has been given the job of enforcing new regulations to foster digital competition and clean up social media content — rules aimed at maintaining its position as a global leader in tech regulation.

The Irish watchdog also examined TikTok's measures to verify whether users are at least 13 but found they didn't break any rules.

The regulator is still carrying out a second investigation into whether TikTok complied with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation when it transferred users' personal information to China, where its owner, ByteDance, is based.

TikTok has faced accusations it poses a security risk over fears that users' sensitive information could end up in China.

It has embarked on a project to localise European user data to address those concerns: opening a data centre in Dublin this month, which will be the first of three in on the continent.

Instagram, WhatsApp and their owner Meta are among other tech giants that have been hit with big fines by the Irish regulator over the past year.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: TIKTOK,DATA PRIVACY RULES,DATA PROTECTION COMMISSION

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TikTok Wants To Ban Links Of Other E-Commerce Websites For Users

Posted By: Preeti Dabar Posted On: Aug 24, 2023

TikTok is reportedly planning to ban links to outside e-commerce websites such as Amazon, as it ramps up its shopping platform in the US.

The move is seen as a way for the company to force people to use TikTok Shop if they want to purchase an item that they see on the app, reports ‘The Information'. According to the report, TikTok Shop is on track to lose more than $500 million in the US this year.

“TikTok Shop, the app's nascent shopping service, is expected to lose more than $500 million in the US this year," said the report, citing sources.

The loss reflects TikTok's heavy investment in hiring, building a delivery network and “subsidising merchants that offer double-digit–percentage discounts and free shipping," the report added. Consumers in the US are spending around $3-$4 million a day on TikTok Shop. The company expects this figure to exceed $10 million by the end of the year.

TikTok, the short video platform owned by ByteDance, launched online shopping service TikTok Shop in 2021, starting in Indonesia. The shopping platform has become a strong player in Southeast Asia.

Last week, e-commerce giant Sea reportedly said it will bump up investments in its online shopping business Shopee across all markets as Chinese company TikTok's shopping venture expands into new territories.

Source: News18
Related Posts: TIKTOK

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