The social network of Chinese origin TikTok has been fined in the United Kingdom with 12.7 million pounds (14.54 million euros) for “not doing enough” to prevent underage children from accessing the platform.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has claimed that TikTok allowed up to 1.4 million children under the age of 13 to use its platform in 2020 after failing to ensure they had permission from their parents. parents or guardians to access the app, which violated their own terms of service statement.
In addition, TikTok did not verify the identity of these minors to expel them from the app despite the alerts issued by the company employees themselves.
“We have laws in place to safeguard the safety of our children in the digital world as well as in the physical one. TikTok has not complied with these laws ,” justified the information commissioner, John Edwards. “They did not do enough to make sure who used their platform,” he has settled.
However, the regulator has imposed a fine below the 27 million pounds (30.91 million euros) that it originally claimed, since it decided not to proceed with the investigation into the alleged illegal use of “special category data” . This type of data includes information about race, political, religious, sexual orientation or biometric data, among others.
For its part, TikTok has rejected the decision, saying it is “weighing the next steps to take.” However, she has been “satisfied” after seeing the penalty reduced by half:
“TikTok is a platform for users 13 and older. We invest heavily in helping keep children under 13 off the platform, and our 40,000-strong security team works around the clock to help keep TikTok safe. ” safe platform for our community “, has expressed TikTok officially.
“Although we do not agree with the ICO’s decision, referring to the corresponding period from May 2018 – July 2020, we are pleased that the fine announced today has been reduced to less than half of the amount proposed last year. We will continue to reviewing the decision and are considering the next steps.”
This fine follows the ban decreed by the British Government several weeks ago and which vetoed the Chinese application of government mobile phones due to concerns about cybersecurity, as explained in the House of Commons by the Chief of Staff, Oliver Dowden .
The restrictions to be applied affected the work mobile devices of civil servants and ministers, but not their personal mobiles. The veto occurred after the opinion issued by the experts of the British National Cybersecurity Center regarding data protection. “This is an appropriate decision based on specific risks for government mobiles,” Dowden said in the House.
Thus, the Rishi Sunak Executive made a 180-degree turn with respect to the position expressed just a few weeks earlier by the Secretary for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, who told the ‘Politico’ medium that the United Kingdom would not join to the ban decreed by the European Commission, which forced its employees to uninstall TikTok before March 15. The head of Science added that having the application was a “personal choice” of the users.