The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), acting on behalf of the EU, fined the Chinese social network TikTok 345 million euros for violating the rules on handling the data of minor users.
The investigation into TikTok’s handling of underage users’ data, which lasted from July to December 2020, focused on certain settings in the app and age verification during the user registration process, German news agency DPA reported.
By default, videos and posts by users between the ages of 13 and 17 were accessible to all users, as was the ability to comment on posts, which is against the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
TikTok: Measures to eliminate violations mostly already taken
Meanwhile, the TikTok company announced that the findings of the investigation relate mainly to the default settings that were in effect three years ago.
“Most of these results are no longer relevant due to the measures we put in place even before the investigation began,” they announced. In accordance with the new settings, all profiles of users under the age of 16 are automatically marked as private and are not accessible to everyone.
In addition to the fine, TikTok was also ordered to fully comply with GDPR within three months of its data processing systems. By the end of next year, TikTok is expected to process the data of European users only in new data processing centers in Ireland and Norway.
TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese corporation Bytedance, is thus trying to strengthen its trust in Europe, as concerns about the spread of China’s influence through TikTok have been rising more and more recently. The European Commission and many European governments have banned the use of the application on the mobile phones of their employees in recent months.