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Europe fined TikTok $368 million for not keeping kids safe.

(Qnnflash) — The European tech regulator has issued a directive to TikTok, a prominent social media platform, mandating the payment of a substantial punishment amounting to €345 million ($368 million). This decision was made on the grounds that TikTok’s measures to safeguard the well-being of minors were deemed insufficient.

On Friday, the Irish Data Protection Commission, the regulatory body responsible for supervising TikTok’s operations within the European Union, declared that the corporation had contravened the prominent privacy legislation of the EU.

The default settings TikTok implemented in the latter part of 2020 were insufficient to protect the accounts of minors, according to a study by the Data Protection Commission (DPC). As an illustration, it was stated that children’s profiles that had been recently made were automatically configured to be publicly accessible, allowing anyone on the internet to access them.

The regulatory body highlighted that TikTok failed to adequately notify children about the privacy concerns associated with the platform. Additionally, the company employed manipulative design techniques, commonly referred to as “dark patterns,” to steer users towards divulging additional personal information.

According to the Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Family Pairing tool on TikTok, which was intended as a parental control measure, was found to be non-compliant with EU privacy regulations. Specifically, the feature did not mandate the verification of the adult managing a child’s account to confirm their status as the child’s legal parent or guardian. According to the regulator, the occurrence of this lapse implies that, in theory, any adult has the potential to compromise a child’s privacy precautions.

In April 2020, TikTok implemented a feature known as family Pairing, which enables parents to establish a connection between their personal accounts and those of their children. This functionality facilitates the supervision of screen time, the imposition of content restrictions, and the imposition of limitations on direct messaging capabilities for children.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC)’s decision provides the corporation with a three-month grace period and a formal warning to address its violations.

“No longer applicable.”

However, in a blog post published on Friday, the corporation expressed its respectful disagreement with many portions of the judgment.

According to Elaine Fox, the European privacy chief of TikTok, the majority of the concerns directed at the decision have become obsolete due to the implementation of measures initiated at the beginning of 2021.

According to Fox, TikTok implemented modifications in early 2021 that involved setting the default privacy setting for both new and existing accounts of users aged 13 to 15 as private. The speaker also stated that in the upcoming month, there will be an implementation of an updated process for new users aged 16 and 17 to register their accounts. This revised procedure would automatically change their account settings to private.

TikTok did not announce that Family Pairing will introduce a mechanism for validating the parental tie between an adult and a youngster. However, the corporation asserted that the functionality has undergone enhancements over the course of time with the introduction of novel alternatives and tools. The statement indicated that the regulator’s investigations did not discover any violations of EU privacy law in relation to TikTok’s age verification processes.

In the month of April, TikTok incurred a financial penalty in the United Kingdom due to many infringements of data protection legislation, which encompassed the improper utilization of personal data belonging to minors.

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