A group of child privacy advocates has filed a complaint against TikTok with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming the video app violated an agreement to protect children on its platform, The New York Times reported.
A coalition of 20 children’s rights and consumer advocacy groups in the US filed a complaint against the company on Thursday, accusing it of not doing enough to protect the privacy of children using the service.
TikTok paid a $5.7 million fine to the FTC in February 2019 over allegations that an earlier version of its app, called Musical.ly, violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by allowing users younger than 13 to sign up without parental consent.
Under the terms of the agreement, TikTok also agreed to remove all videos previously uploaded by anyone under the age of 13. But the coalition of privacy advocates, led by the Center for Digital Democracy and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, found videos from 2016 posted by children under 13 were still on the app and that the company doesn’t do enough to obtain parental consent of new users.
The complaint, led by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, alleges that “TikTok has not destroyed all personal information collected from users under age 13. We found that TikTok currently has many regular account holders who are under age 13, and many of them still have videos of themselves that were uploaded as far back as 2016 … TikTok has not obtained parental consent for these accounts”.
In a statement to The New York Times, a TikTok spokesperson said: “We take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users”.
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