The Chinese-owned social media app TikTok may face a $29 million fine after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it has provisionally found that TikTok violated UK data protection law by failing to handle the personal data of minor children between May 2018 and July 2020.
According to CNBC, TikTok could face a £27 million ($29 million) fine in the UK after privacy regulators determined that the company failed to handle children’s data appropriately.
TikTok received a “notice of intent” from the Information Commissioner’s Office, informing the company of its “provisional view that TikTok violated UK data protection law between May 2018 and July 2020.”
Moreover, according to the ICO, TikTok may have processed the data of children under the age of 13 without parental consent, did not present information to its users in an easily understandable manner, and processed “special category data” such as race or ethnicity information without legal grounds.
“We all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with proper data privacy protections,” said Information Commissioner John Edwards in a statement this week.
“Companies that provide digital services have a legal obligation to implement those safeguards, but our preliminary assessment is that TikTok fell short of that requirement.”
TikTok has 30 days to respond to the decision, and the ICO may reduce the fine if company officials can provide an accurate defence of its handling of children’s data.
“While we respect the ICO’s role in safeguarding privacy in the UK, we disagree with the preliminary views expressed and intend to formally respond to the ICO in due course,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC.