Technology TikTok is illegally collecting data on children, according to new allegations to the FTC
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- A group of 20 advocacy groups have accused TikTok of illegally collecting minors' data in a complaint to the FTC.
- TikTok reached a settlement with the FTC last year after admitting Musical.ly, an app it bought in 2018, had illegally collected children's personal data without their guardians' permission.
- The advocacy groups say TikTok has violated the terms of this settlement.
- TikTok told BI it takes the privacy of minors seriously.
TikTok has been accused of illegally hoovering up minors' data in multiple complaints.
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The first complaint was filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by a group of 20 consumer and child advocacy groups on Thursday. It accuses TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, of breaking a previous settlement the company reached with the FTC not to collect the personal data of under-13s without their parents' permission.
after TikTok admitted Musical.ly, a US app it absorbed in 2018, had broken the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) by taking the personal data of under-13s. The terms of the settlement included that TikTok would henceforth seek parents' permission to obtain that data and would delete the existing data of underage users — including videos. The settlement came with a $5.7 million fine.
Advocacy group says TikTok violated FTC consent decree and children's privacy rules
Advocacy group says TikTok violated FTC consent decree and children's privacy rulesThe Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and others said TikTok had failed to take down all videos made by children under the age of 13, as it agreed to do under a consent agreement with the FTC announced in February 2019.
The groups claim TikTok has not deleted this data as promised.
"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, years prior to the consent decree,".
They also allege: "TikTok has not obtained parental consent for these accounts. Contrary to the terms of the consent decree, TikTok fails to make reasonable efforts to ensure that a parent of a child receives direct notice of its practices regarding the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information."
The groups call on the FTC to launch an investigation into TikTok and "impose additional penalties and safeguards to ensure that children's privacy is protected."
The FTC was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Separately,was filed against the company in a Chicago court on Wednesday.
TikTok reveals some of the secrets and blind spots of its recommendation algorithm
With information on how to make your feed more personalizedTikTok’s recommendation algorithm is built around input factors in a way somewhat similar to the way YouTube measures and monitors engagement. The way people interact with the app affects the recommendations served, including posting a comment or following an account. If someone only follows cute animal accounts, and solely double taps to like or comments on videos about animals, TikTok will serve them more animals.
The main claimant, a minor identified only as "K.M.", claims TikTok collects the biometric data of users using facial scanning and recognition. The Chicago suit mentions concerns voiced by senators including Marco Rubio and Chuck Schumer that as a Chinese-owned company, TikTok may be beholden to the Chinese government.
A TikTok spokesperson told Business Insider: "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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Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report .
Amazon on Friday asked its employees to delete video sharing app TikTok off their mobile devices due to security concerns, The New York Times reported. © getty Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report Amazon, which has over 840,000 employees worldwide, gave its employees until next Friday to remove the app from mobile devices with access to an Amazon email account or be blocked from accessing those accounts on the device, according to an email to employees obtained by the Times.