The European Union (EU) announced this Friday a sanction of 345 million euros against the social network TikTok. This is the first time that Chinese platform receives a fine from the block. The penalty is based on non-compliance with the European Law of Data Protection for not adequately protecting the privacy of minors.
The company was quick to express its disagreement with several aspects of the decision, focusing especially on the amount of the fine. Elaine Foxthe TikTok privacy officer in Europeassured that most of the problems pointed out have already been corrected and reaffirmed his commitment of strengthen even more the protection of adolescents on the platformaccording to an official statement.
EU investigations against TikTok
The investigations that led to this sanction were led by the Irish Data Protection Authority, where the platform is based. These started in September 2021 and they focused on the handling of minors’ data between July 31 and December 31, 2020.
In this way, it was revealed that TikTok breached European data protection regulations by configure the profiles of underage users as public by default, which allowed Anyoneboth on and off the platform, could access the content shared by these. The company changed this setting so that minor accounts are private by default.
Furthermore, the option of “Family Matching allowed the adult Internet userswhose identity as parents or guardians could not be verified, will link their accounts with those of minor userswhich allowed them enable Direct Messages to communicate with minors, generating thus “Possible serious risks for younger users“.
Finally, the investigation from Dublin also pointed out that TikTok did not provide enough information to the minors and encouraged them to select more intrusive privacy options during the registration process and when uploading videos.
This TikTok fine It adds to other previous sanctions imposed by the European Union to digital giants by violations of data protection regulationslike the historical fine of 1,200 million euros to Goal and another of 405 million to Instagram.