What happened: Regulators in the UK are investigating how short video app TikTok handles the personal data collected from young users and whether it prioritizes children’s safety on the platform, Pandaily reported. The investigation started in February, following the $5.7 million dollar fine that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed on the app for collecting personal information from users under 13. According to the report, while TikTok’s main user base is comprised of 16- to 24-year-olds, evidence indicates that many of them are under 13 and shouldn’t be allowed on the app, according to its rules.
Why it’s important: Since the FTC fine, TikTok has revised its user agreement, limiting those under 13 to an ecosystem where they can only watch age-specific videos and removing almost all other in-app functionalities. The restrictions, however, can be easily circumvented by entering fake birth dates. The ongoing investigation in the UK suggests that the Bytedance app might need to further tighten its controls.