The UK government has fined TikTok millions for failing to protect the data of minors.
The popular social media app, TikTok, is currently in hot water with its potential to be banned at the hands of the United States government, and now the company has been fined £12.7 million ($15.9 million) by the UK, reports Deadline. The hefty fine is for breaching multiple data protection laws against children who are under the age of 13. Things are certainly not looking good for the future of the app.
A recent investigation found that TikTok breached the UK’s user data protection laws for children from 2018 to 2020, shortly after the app was launched. In that timeframe, as many as one million children under the age of 13 years old were granted access to the app without appropriately receiving consent or authorization on how their data should be used. This failure to protect the children’s information means they could have seen inappropriate or harmful content and that their data could have been used to find and monitor them.
Similar to the laws in place in the US, it is illegal for companies to collect data and information from children under 13 years of age without their parent’s consent. Doing so could put the child in danger of being tracked and profiled by online hackers.
Even after dealing with a $15.9 million fine, TikTok has still has a huge problem coming its way. Currently, Bill 686, often referred to as “The TikTok Ban Bill” is working its way through Congress, and it threatens to ban the social media app. However, that only scratches the surface of this restricting bill, which could allow the US government to shut down apps and technological threats from countries like China, Russia, and North Korea.
TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi, has two main options to avoid having to deal with the app being banned. Firstly, he can cut his losses and sell the Chinese tech company, which is reportedly worth over $50 million. Or he can set up an initial public offering (IPO) where he will sell shares of TikTok to investors.
Either way, Shou Zi, would lose control of the company, but Americans would still be able to enjoy watching their favorite videos.
Ever since TikTok was released to the US in 2016, users of the app have been watching videos that range from cooking tutorials to dance trends to true crime investigations and so much more. The social media app spiked in popularity during the 2020 pandemic shutdown when people had little else to do but stare at their phones.
TikTok sometimes gets a bad rep for turning users into mindless scrolling machines, but there’s actually a wealth of knowledge and entertainment available on the app. Users have learned valuable tips and tricks for cooking, cleaning, makeup tutorials, weight loss, and many more everyday life hacks.
The stars of TikTok change every day, but there are many people who have made a great living off their short, creative videos. TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio have earned over $10 million from creating engaging content. If Bill 686 is passed through Congress, these stars may need to find a new career path.