Popular teen video app TIKTOK will have to shell record $5.7 million as a settlement fine in U.S. for illegally securing personal information from children. The teen video app, which is owned by world’s most valued startup ByteDance, reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.
The U.S. government agency released a statement on Wednesday that it has resolved the case pertaining to the allegations that the Chinese social-media giant had failed to secure parental consent before collecting personal information from children younger than age 13.
“This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children. We will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said.
FTC had used the decade old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to reprimand TIKTOK.
ByteDance owned app, on other hand, has assured that it will fully compile with the privacy laws in the country.
“We care deeply about the safety and privacy of our users. This is an ongoing commitment, and we are continuing to expand and evolve our protective measures in support of this,” TikTok said.
TikTok facing problem in India as well
TikTok’s record $5.7 Mn fine has come closely on the heels of legal problems it is facing in India. The state government of Tamil Nadu – one of India’s southern state – has demanded ban on the teen video app for allegedly exposing teenage population to erotic contents.
According to reports, ByteDance has hired high profile executive called Sandhya Sharma to kick start the PR exercise with Indian government.
In the context of PR, ByteDance must learn valuable lessons from the disastrous PR that Uber had to endure several months before losing the coveted tag of the world’s most valued startup.
Now that ByteDance owns that coveted tag, it should be mindful about ensuring that recent legal problems don’t snowball into a disastrous PR exercise.