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Tiktok Fined €345M For Breaching Children’s Data

Irish regulators have imposed a hefty €345 million (£296 million) fine on TikTok for breaching children’s privacy.




The complaint centered on TikTok’s handling of children’s data in 2020, particularly concerning age verification and privacy settings.

This fine marks the largest penalty TikTok has faced from regulatory authorities to date.

A spokesperson for the social media company expressed their disagreement with the decision, particularly the size of the fine. They emphasized that the criticisms primarily targeted features and settings that were in place three years ago, many of which had already been modified before the investigation commenced. For instance, they highlighted that they had set all accounts of users under 16 to private by default.

The fine was imposed by the Data Protection Commission (DPC) of Ireland under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law.

GDPR establishes guidelines for companies in managing data.

The DPC determined that TikTok had not been adequately transparent with children regarding its privacy settings and had raised concerns about how children’s data was being handled.

Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner, told BBC News that the investigation also revealed that accounts created by individuals aged between 13 and 17 were initially set to public, making the content they posted visible to anyone. She noted that this issue arose due to TikTok’s platform design, which was considered a breach of GDPR’s data protection requirements.

TikTok has been given three months to ensure that its data processing fully aligns with GDPR.

Prof. Sonia Livingstone, a researcher specializing in children’s digital rights and experiences at the London School of Economics and Political Science, welcomed the DPC’s decision. She emphasized that children want to engage in the digital world without exploitation or manipulation, and platforms must clarify how they handle data and treat data fairly, as privacy is a fundamental right for children.

An ongoing investigation is also looking into whether TikTok illegally transferred data from the EU to China, as TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance.