Another day, another legal headache for TikTok in the US. It’s not a new issue, but rather a new lawsuit about a familiar issue: whether the Musical·ly app that parent company Bytedance acquired and later merged with TikTok was collecting data on under-13s in a way that flouted US laws on children’s privacy. Obligatory (and even more so, in this context) reminder: Musical·ly the app was nothing to do with us, Music Ally the company.
Anyway, the new lawsuit takes aim at the app for not having enough safeguards to prevent children signing up (and thus having their data collected and shared – location included). “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 told Gizmodo for its report on the lawsuit.
It follows a settlement announced in February between TikTok and the Federal Trade Commission in the US, over the issue of illegally collecting personal data from children. TikTok paid $5.7m to settle those allegations.
The US has some of the strictest regulations on children and privacy, and it’s not just TikTok that is having to make sure it’s taking necessary precautions. Just yesterday, Instagram announced that it will now be asking for people’s date of birth when they create an account, to “help prevent underage people from joining Instagram” (as long as they don’t lie about their age…) and to create “more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings” for 13-18 year-olds using the app.
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