When the lip-syncing app Musical.ly first exploded in popularity nearly four years ago, it was best known for being a teen sensation. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, the app also illegally collected information from children under the age of 13.
The agency announced Wednesday that Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, has agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to settle the allegations, which the agency described as “the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children’s privacy case.”
TikTok must also comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, going forward and take down any videos uploaded by users under 13.
Regulators said that TikTok not only collected personal information from under-13 users without their parents’ consent, but made those profiles public and, until October 2016, let people share their location with nearby friends.
The developers knew a “significant percentage” of users were under 13 but didn’t change their ways even after “thousands of complaints,” the FTC said.
TikTok must pay a record $5.7 million fine for violating children’s privacy law.
The FTC alleges the company had “actual knowledge” users were under age 13 based on the information they typically share on their bios and accounts.
— Cheddar (@cheddar) February 27, 2019