UK fines TikTok $15.8 million for GDPR violation of children’s privacy

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office announced today that it has levied a nearly $16 million fine against TikTok for “a number of breaches” of the country’s data protection law.

Central to the ICO’s decision to fine TikTok are the estimated 1.4 million UK children under 13 years of age, who were allowed to sign up for the platform in 2020, despite the company’s own rules barring such use.

That’s a violation of UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (similar to the EU’s GDPR), the ICO said in a statement. The UK GDPR requires that companies that use personal data to offer services to children under 13 need a parent or guardian’s permission to do so. The regulator also noted that “senior employees” at TikTok were aware of underage users on the platform, and did not respond adequately to the issue.

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