TikTok has been fined a whopping $368 million by European regulators for child-related privacy violations.
According to , this is the first instance of the popular short video-sharing app being penalized for violating Europe’s data privacy rules. associated Press.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has imposed a fine of €345 million, citing breaches during the second half of 2020.
The investigation revealed that the sign-up process for teen users made their accounts public by default, putting the privacy of children under 13 at risk, the AP reports.
Additionally, the “Family Pairing” feature, designed for parental controls, allows adults to send direct messages to users aged 16 and 17 without consent. It also pushed teen users toward more aggressive privacy options during sign-up and video posting.
TikTok disagreed with the decision, particularly the amount of the fine, highlighting that the problems were about features and settings from three years ago that they had already fixed before the investigation took place in 2021.
The regulator is still investigating whether TikTok followed EU data rules when transferring user information to China, where its owner ByteDance is based.
TikTok is not the only platform to face a data privacy fine by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission.
Last year, Instagram faced a fine of $402 million. WhatsApp was fined $5.9 million in January this year, and its parent company Meta was fined a significant $1.3 billion in May.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.