Economy

TikTok to pay $5.7 million fine for collecting children's data

TikTok to pay $5.7 million fine for collecting children's data

But, despite sharing all of that information, the app didn't first ask for the consent of the children's parents; something that's always been required under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Bytedance, a Chinese internet conglomerate, bought Musical.ly in 2017.

In comparison, the Facebook app was installed an estimated 711 million times previous year while Instagram recorded just 444 million new downloads. The data also suggest that in 2018 the app became the fourth most downloaded app if one removes games from the list. If a kid signs up and indicates an age under 13, they'll be sent to a limited-function version of the app where they can't record and publish videos within the TikTok or publish them directly to the TikTok network.

TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016 and then made more widely available around the world in 2017.

The Musical.ly app allowed users to create videos of them lip syncing to popular songs.

TikTok makes money through in-app purchases like emojis. Some of the critics also reveal that the sexual predators are increasingly using the app to target children.

It offers users a raft if colourful modification and editing tools including overlaying music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos. Various cases have been reported where TikTok is used to shame users by morphing the images and videos.

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"Just because you say it's intended for over-13 doesn't mean that it is", said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Musical.ly debuted in 2014 and, along with its successor TikTok, has been downloaded more than 200 million times.

'The agency secured a record-setting civil penalty and deletion of ill-gotten data, as well as other remedies to stop this egregious conduct'.

"We've now implemented changes to accommodate younger US users in a limited, separate app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience", TikTok said.

The separate app experience will likely allow younger users to watch videos, but the selection will be curated. "However, they will be able to experience what TikTok is at its core-showcasing creativity-as they enjoy curated content and experiment with TikTok's unique, fanciful, and expressive features", the statement said.

"Both current and new TikTok users will be directed to the age-appropriate app experience, beginning today", the service added.

"It is no secret that tech companies are illegally and knowingly collecting personal information from children", Jim Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, said in a statement.