TikTok has been fined Ksh2.1bn by the UK’s data watchdog for breaching data protection law including by using the personal data of children aged under 13 without parental consent.
Reports indicates that Tik tok allowed an estimated 1.4 million UK children under 13 years to access the app in 2020.
The platform is accused of using the data of children of this age without parental consent, according to an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
It said that children’s data may have been used to track and profile them, and potentially present them with harmful or inappropriate content.
However on its defense, Tik Tok said it had invested heavily to stop under-13s accessing the site.
A TikTok spokesperson said the company disagreed with the ICO’s decision but was pleased the fine had been reduced from the possible 27 million pounds set out by the ICO last year.
“We invest heavily to help keep under 13s off the platform and our 40,000 strong safety team works around the clock to help keep the platform safe for our community,” the spokesperson said.
“We will continue to review the decision and are considering next steps.”
The ICO said many children were able to access the site despite TikTok setting 13 as the minimum age to create an account.
According to Information commissioner John Edwards, there are laws in place to make sure children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world and TikTok did not abide by those laws.
“As a consequence, an estimated one million under-13s were inappropriately granted access to the platform, with TikTok collecting and using their personal data.TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had.” He said