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FTC Refers TikTok Privacy Complaint to DOJ Over Children's Privacy Concerns

19.06.2024 05:00 AM
FTC Refers TikTok Privacy Complaint to DOJ Over Children's Privacy Concerns
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 FTC Refers TikTok Privacy Complaint to DOJ Over Children's Privacy Concerns
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a significant step by referring a complaint against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The complaint centers on potential violations of children's privacy laws. This development underscores the growing scrutiny TikTok faces in the United States, as the popular social media platform navigates legal and regulatory challenges.

The FTC's investigation revealed potential violations of both the FTC Act and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The FTC Act targets unfair or deceptive practices by companies, while COPPA governs the collection and use of personal information from children under 13 years old. According to the FTC, there is reason to believe that TikTok and ByteDance are either violating or on the verge of violating these laws. The FTC's decision to publicly announce the referral to the DOJ, an unusual move, highlights the gravity of the situation and its public interest.

In response to the FTC's referral, a TikTok spokesperson expressed disappointment, stating that the company has been collaborating with the FTC for over a year to address these concerns. TikTok disagrees with the allegations and prefers continued dialogue over litigation. This complaint is separate from the legislative efforts earlier this year that sought to ban TikTok in the US unless ByteDance divests from the platform. Additionally, TikTok is involved in a legal battle against a law signed by President Joe Biden in April, which mandates ByteDance to sell TikTok within a year or face a ban. This law stems from fears that TikTok could share user data with Chinese authorities, a claim the company denies. TikTok's lawsuit argues that this legislation infringes on free speech rights, impacting its 170 million American users.

The FTC's referral of the TikTok complaint to the DOJ adds another layer to the complex regulatory landscape TikTok navigates in the US. This action highlights the serious concerns regarding children's privacy and the legal responsibilities of online platforms. As TikTok continues to contest these allegations and legislative pressures, the outcomes of these legal proceedings will significantly impact its operations and its millions of users in the United States. The coming months will be crucial for TikTok as it addresses these multifaceted challenges and strives to maintain its presence in the US market.
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