Action Taken Against TikTok Over Alleged Children’s Data Protection Breach

2020 was a year most of us would like to forget. The lockdown meant that most people sought entertainment by different means, whether it be by watching shows on Netflix, baking at home or by downloading entertaining apps on our phones.

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2020 and now boasts in excess of 500 million downloads. It is now, however, having to defend itself against claims that it has breached data protection laws by collecting and sharing the personal data of children with third parties. It is further alleged that the personal data of those children was collected by TikTok without the knowledge of the children’s parents.

Anne Longfield, the former Children’s Commissioner for England, has launched legal proceedings on behalf of 3.5 million children under 13 against TikTok and its parent company ByteDance Ltd. Ms Longfield said: “TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform that has helped children keep in touch with their friends during an incredibly difficult year. However, behind the fun songs, dance challenges and lip-sync trends lies something far more sinister.”

In 2020 Ofcom found that 42% of 8-12 year olds in the UK used TikTok, despite its policies forbidding under 13s on the platform. This is extremely worrying given that information such as the exact location, contact details and facial recognition of the user may be gathered by the app if the user accepts these requests.

This landmark action is due to be heard soon. It is one we are certain most parents will be keeping an eye on.