If you’re from the Indian subcontinent, there are strong chances that you must have heard about TikTok app, which was formerly known as Musical.ly. The app recently crossed 1 billion downloads on Google Play Store and App Store, out of which 250 million downloads are from India.
A US-based industry self-regulatory group called Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) filed a complaint to FTC regarding TikTok’s data collection policies from users who are aged under 13. According to CARU, the app violates U.S. children’s privacy law by collecting the personal data of under age users without their parents’ consent.
As per U.S. children’s privacy law COPPA, apps and websites must obtain parental consent before collecting data such as IP address, geolocation information and email address from users aged below 13.
For violating these laws, TikTok app has been slapped with a massive fine of $5.7 million.
FTC’s chairman Joe Simmons said, “This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children: We take enforcement of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law.”
In addition to the hefty fine, the settlement with FTC also requires the app to maintain an age gate on the app. The users below 13 must be directed to a different in-app experience where they are required to provide parental consent before providing their personal identifiers.
Do you think the fine will impact the popularity of the app? Tell us in the comments below.