Irish Regulator Hits TikTok With $367M Fine

Watchdog says social media app violated EU law on handling of children's data
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2023 10:07 AM CDT
Irish Regulator Hits TikTok With $367M Fine
TikTok has been heavily fined by Irish regulators for breaking EU law.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Irish eyes are not smiling on how TikTok handled children's data in the second half of 2020. After reviewing the company's procedures during that period, Ireland's data watchdog fined the social media company $367 million for breaking European Union law and issued a reprimand, the Guardian reports. The Irish Data Protection Committee said TikTok had automatically set the accounts of users aged 13 to 17 to public, meaning anybody could see or comment on them. The committee also found that TikTok didn't do enough to address the risks of under-13s using the platform.

The regulator also said TikTok's "Family Pairing" feature was open to abuse because it did not verify that the adult a child's account was paired with was a family member, the Irish Examiner reports. The fine "reflects the extent to which the DPC identified child users were exposed to risk in particular arising from TikTok's decision at the time to default child user accounts to public settings on registration," data protection commissioner Helen Dixon said in a statement, per Politico.

"We respectfully disagree with the decision, particularly the level of the fine imposed," Tiktok said in a statement. It said the regulator's criticisms "are focused on features and settings that were in place three years ago, and that we made changes to well before the investigation even began." The Guardian notes that TikTok was fined almost $16 million by British regulators in April for processing the data of 1.4 million under-13s who were using the platform without the consent of their parents. (Read more TikTok stories.)

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