TikTok is in the news again or rather its parent company, ByteDance, is as the firm is viewed to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
ByteDance, which acquired TikTok in 2017 when it was formerly known as Musical.ly, was being investigated for the manner in which it collected data from children. More specifically the Chinese company collected data from children under the age of 13 without the explicit consent of their parents, the investigation found, and now ByteDance is being sued as a result.
Perhaps most concerning of all, said collected data was sold to third-party advertisers.
For those unfamiliar with COPPA it expressly forbids any social media company from collecting data from underage users without the consent of their parents.
Following this investigation, now ByteDance is open to potential lawsuits from institutions like the Federal Trade Commission Stateside, and should the firm have done the same in other countries, there is scope for even more lawsuits in future.
“TikTok was made aware of the allegations in the complaint some time ago, and although we disagree with much of what is alleged in the complaint, we have been working with the parties involved to reach a resolution of the issues,” a spokesperson for the social media platform told The Verge.
Said resolution is expected to be announced “soon” according to the spokesperson, although it remains to be seen what guise it will take. Given how TikTok is in the wrong here, we cannot see any other resolution other than ByteDance having to bite the bullet and settle the lawsuit, as well as change the data collection policies of the social media platform it owns.
Failure to do so would mean more COPPA-related lawsuits and other fines for the organisation in our opinion.