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US DOJ receives a child privacy complaint against TikTok

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  • 2 min read

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has referred a complaint against the popular social media platform TikTok to the Department of Justice (DoJ) over a potential violation of children’s privacy rights. The complaint comes after the FTC’s 2019 investigation into the platform violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act.

According to the FTC’s statement, “the investigation uncovered reason to believe named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and that a proceeding is in the public interest.” The statement further said that while the FTC traditionally doesn’t reveal referring complaints to the public, it has determined that doing so, in this case, is in the public’s best interest.

In response, TikTok claims that it has been working with the FTC for over a year to address the agency’s complaints. The platform added that it strongly disagrees with the FTC’s allegations, “many of which relate to past events and practices that are factually inaccurate or have been addressed.”

TikTok ended up paying $5.7 million to settle the allegations raised in FTC’s 2019 investigation that it illegally collects personal information from children under 13 years of age without parental consent on the app — a violation of COPPA. The settlement was the largest-ever civil penalty obtained by the FTC in a children’s privacy case.

The complaint adds to the list of legal problems that the social media platform is facing. It’s also set to file a legal brief in its lawsuit challenging a law passed in April that forces ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company, to divest its US assets by January 19 or face a ban on Thursday, June 20.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: