TikTok faces new US claim for violating children’s privacy

TikTok faces new US claim for violating children’s privacy

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has referred a complaint against TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance for possible violations of children’s privacy to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The FTC says its own investigation “uncovered reason to believe” that the companies “are violating or are about to violate the law.”
In a statement to BBC News, a TikTok spokesperson said they were disappointed by the decision.
The case is unrelated to legislation passed earlier this year to ban TikTok in the US if ByteDance does not sell the business.

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The regulator said its investigation focused on possible violations of the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The FTC also said it does not normally announce that it has referred a complaint to the Justice Department, but in this case it considered doing so to be in the public interest.
COPPA governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by online services about children under 13 years of age.
The FTC Act targets “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” by companies.
In response, a TikTok spokesperson said the company disagreed with the allegations and had “been working with the FTC for over a year to address their concerns.”
“We are disappointed that the agency is pursuing litigation rather than continuing to work with us on a reasonable solution,” they added.
The FTC’s announcement adds to the growing pressure TikTok faces in the United States.
In April, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law giving ByteDance a maximum of one year to sell the app or face a ban in the country.
That means the deadline is likely to come sometime in 2025, after the winner of the 2024 presidential election takes office.
The law was introduced to address concerns that TikTok could share user data with Chinese authorities, claims the company has denied.
In May, TikTok filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking that legislation, arguing it is an “extraordinary intrusion on the free speech rights” of the company and its 170 million American users.