The popular and increasingly controversial social media app TikTok must pay a fine of 12.7 million pounds (equivalent to around $16 million) in the UK for disregarding data protection for children.
The British data protection authority Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) announced this week that TikTok had allowed up to 1.4 million children under the age of 13 in the country to open accounts in 2020, despite the app's own rules prohibiting it.
Children's personal data had also been used without parental consent, it said, despite UK law requiring it.
"TikTok also failed to implement adequate controls to identify and remove underage children from its platform," an ICO statement added.
While some senior TikTok executives had raised concerns internally, the company had not responded appropriately, the ICO said.
COPPA is a US federal law enacted in 1998 to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13 on the Internet. COPPA applies to websites and online services that collect personal information from children under the age of 13, such as their name, address, email address, phone number, and other identifiable information.
Privacy for Kids
Due to skyrocketing online activity by children and teens, protecting their privacy and security online has become one of the most discussed topics in 2023.
The Biden administration has called on Congress to strengthen privacy protections, ban targeted advertising to children, and demand technology companies stop collecting personal data on children.