US regulators accuse TikTok of violating child privacy laws

Washington:  The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has referred a complaint against the popular video-sharing app TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance to the Department of Justice, alleging that they failed to protect the privacy of children.

The FTC said in a statement that it “uncovered reason to believe” TikTok and ByteDance are “violating or are about to violate” the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

The regulator did not provide any further details of the alleged violations in its statement.

The FTC said that it does not typically make referrals of complaints public, but “determined that doing so here is in public interest.”

The FTC is responsible for consumer protection in the US and also plays an important role in its competition policy.

TikTok rejected the allegations in a statement on X, noting it had been in talks with the FTC for more than a year.

“We’re disappointed the agency is pursuing litigation instead of continuing to work with us on a reasonable solution,” it said.

TikTok also said that many of the FTC’s allegations related to past events and practices and were factually inaccurate or have been addressed.

In 2019, TikTok agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle FTC allegations against its predecessor company,, concerning the collection of data from children under the age of 13 without parental consent, in violation of US law.

According to the FTC, the current investigation into TikTok and its Chinese-based parent company ByteDance began with an audit to determine whether the platform was complying with the terms of the previous agreement.

TikTok is currently involved in a separate legal battle in the US over a proposed law that would force a change of ownership.

US politicians are concerned that the Chinese government could potentially access data from American users through ByteDance and use the app for propaganda.

TikTok denies the allegations and has taken legal action in the US.


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