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TikTok is in privacy trouble again, although in monetary terms not in quite as much trouble as it was expected to be.

UK privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined TikTok £12.7m ($15.8m at current exchange rates) for misusing children’s data there.

The ICO estimated that up to 1.4 million children under the age of 13 were on TikTok in 2020; that their personal data was used without the necessary parental consent; and that TikTok did not do enough to identify and remove underage users.

“TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had,” said Information Commissioner John Edwards.

Why is this not as much trouble as expected? The ICO had previously said it intended to fine TikTok £27m, but has since dropped a charge relating to processing ‘special category’ data (for example ethnic/racial origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual orientation etc). Hence the lower fine.

“While we disagree with the ICO’s decision, which relates to May 2018 – July 2020, we are pleased that the fine announced today has been reduced to under half the amount proposed last year,” TikTok’s spokesperson told Politico.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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