Monday, July 15, 2024

FTC Refers TikTok Child Privacy Case to Justice Department

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  • The FTC has referred a complaint against TikTok to the Department of Justice, alleging violations of child privacy laws.
  • TikTok disputes the allegations, stating that the issues are outdated and have been addressed.
  • This move adds to TikTok’s ongoing scrutiny in the U.S., including a potential ban if ByteDance doesn’t sell the app.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Tuesday that it has referred a complaint against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This action stems from an investigation into potential violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and concerns over “unfair and deceptive” business practices by the popular social media app.

In a statement, the FTC explained that the investigation revealed sufficient evidence suggesting that TikTok might be violating the law.

The Commission voted to refer the complaint to the DOJ, following procedures outlined in the FTC Act. The FTC noted that while it generally doesn’t announce such referrals, it deemed this case to be in the public interest.

TikTok responded with a public statement expressing disappointment over the FTC’s decision to pursue litigation. The company emphasized its ongoing collaboration with the FTC over the past year to address these concerns.

TikTok contends that many of the allegations pertain to past practices that are either factually incorrect or have since been rectified. The company reiterated its commitment to protecting children’s privacy and continuously improving its platform.

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The FTC’s move to refer this case to the DOJ is notable, as TikTok previously faced similar allegations. In 2019, the company paid a $5.7 million settlement to resolve FTC charges that it had illegally collected personal information from children.

At the time, this settlement was the largest civil penalty the Commission had ever imposed in a children’s privacy case.

This latest development comes amid increased scrutiny of TikTok in the United States. In April, President Joe Biden signed a bill that could potentially ban TikTok if ByteDance fails to divest the app within a year.

This legislation followed years of concerns from U.S. lawmakers about the possibility of ByteDance sharing American user data with the Chinese government.

In response to this bill, TikTok and ByteDance filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, arguing that the law violates constitutional rights to free speech and individual liberty.

As TikTok navigates these legal challenges, the company maintains that it has made significant strides in enhancing user privacy, particularly for children.

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The platform has implemented various measures designed to protect younger users, including stricter privacy settings and increased transparency about data collection practices.

The outcome of this referral to the DOJ remains to be seen, but it underscores the ongoing tensions between TikTok and U.S. regulatory bodies.

The case highlights broader concerns about data privacy, security, and the influence of foreign-owned tech companies in the American market.

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Emily Parker
Emily Parker
Emily Parker is a seasoned tech consultant with a proven track record of delivering innovative solutions to clients across various industries. With a deep understanding of emerging technologies and their practical applications, Emily excels in guiding businesses through digital transformation initiatives. Her expertise lies in leveraging data analytics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity to optimize processes, drive efficiency, and enhance overall business performance. Known for her strategic vision and collaborative approach, Emily works closely with stakeholders to identify opportunities and implement tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of each organization. As a trusted advisor, she is committed to staying ahead of industry trends and empowering clients to embrace technological advancements for sustainable growth.

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