Caixin
Caixin Global – Latest China News & Headlines

Home >

ABOUT US

CX Tech is Caixin Global's real-time tech news portal, featuring 24-hour news, short-form analysis, and roundups from business and tech media in China.

LATEST
Trending in China: The View from China on U.S. Presidential Election Debate Antics
Trending in China: Disneyland Shanghai Hotel Prices Rocket to Over $1,000 a Night
Chinese Bitcoin Mining Machine Maker Ebang Establishes Canadian Subsidiary
Trending in China: Team Effort VS Individualism - What is the Message Behind Box Office Smash Hit Volleyball Movie Leap?
Tencent Leads Over $100m Funding in Pet Clinic Operator New Ruipeng
Watch Out Alipay and WeChat, Trip.com Is Getting Into Online Payments
Search Engine Sogou Joins Exodus of Chinese Firms From Wall Street as Tencent Takes It Private
Huawei Showcases Smart Car Technologies at Beijing Auto Show
Trending in China: A David and Goliath Battle - Students Take on a Chinese Tech Giant and Win
Chinese Drug Manufacturer InventisBio Bags $147m Led by Hillhouse Capital
Profits of Weibo Soar Even as Revenue Falls
Chinese Electric Vehicle Startup Xpeng Receives Investment to Build Production Base in Guangzhou
Video Site Operator Mango Plans to Raise $660 Million to Expand Content Library
Chinese Biotech Firm Creative Biosciences Raises $88m From IDG, CDH, Others
Alibaba’s Ant Group Launches Blockchain-Based Platform to Streamline Cross-Border Trade
Trending in China: Mission Impossible? Young Environmental Hero Tries To Clean Up Tibet
Chinese Online Travel Agency Trip.com Sees Revenue Plummet As Covid-19 Fallout Lingers
Chinese Supply Chain Provider Xingyun Closes $200m in a Series C Round
Chinese EV Charging Operator Star Charge Nabs $125m Co-Led by Schneider, CICC
Trending in China: One of China’s Weirder Poverty Alleviation Programs Goes Viral with 100m Plus Views
ByteDance's TikTok Hit With $5.7 Million Fine Over Child Privacy

By Bloomberg / Feb 28, 2019 09:27 AM / Politics & Law

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Musical.ly, the popular teen video app now known as TikTok, will pay a record $5.7 million to settle claims by the U.S. government that it illegally collected personal information from children.

Musical.ly reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said Wednesday in a statement, resolving allegations that the social-media company failed to obtain parental consent before collecting names, email addresses and other information from children younger than age 13.

“This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. “We will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law.”

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, signed into law more than two decades ago, limits how websites and online services -- including apps -- can collect, use and disclose information from kids. Additionally, the FTC said Musical.ly accounts were public by default, meaning that a child’s profile biography, username, picture and videos could be seen by other users.

TikTok is now making changes to better accommodate younger users in the U.S. based on guidance from the FTC, the company said in a statement. Beginning Wednesday, users will be directed to age-appropriate environments. The app for younger users won’t permit the sharing of personal information, and will also have “extensive” limitations on content and user interaction.

“We care deeply about the safety and privacy of our users,” TikTok said. “This is an ongoing commitment, and we are continuing to expand and evolve our protective measures in support of this.”

Musical.ly was acquired by the world’s most valuable startup, Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., for $800 million and soon after was merged with its TikTok app. A hit in the U.S., Musical.ly was seen as a way for the Chinese company to expand abroad, and also to capitalize on an increasing appetite for short video.

“This FTC ruling underscores what we have long known: companies do not consider children’s personal information out of bounds,” U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who helped author COPPA, said in a statement. “While this fine may be an historic high for a COPPA violation, it is not high enough for the harm that is done to children and to deter violations of the law in the future by other companies.”

The settlement also requires the app’s operators to take offline all videos made by children younger than 13, the FTC said.

Facebook Inc. is also facing a COPPA-related complaint from several consumer groups. The groups claim the social media giant knew that many of the games it offered were popular with children under 13 and were being played by some potentially as young as 5 years old. Facebook said Feb. 20 that it wasn’t in contact with the FTC over the issue.

Related: WeChat ‘Blocks’ TikTok — Again

Support independent journalism from China. Subscribe to Caixin Global starting at $0.99.

Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code