TikTok could face a £27 million fine for possibly breaching UK data protection laws by failing to protect children’s privacy on the platform.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the popular video platform with a temporary notice of intent, signaling a warning before a possible penalty.
From 2018 to 2020, it says TikTok may have processed data belonging to children under the age of 13 – without parental consent or the necessary legal grounds.
The ICO states that the platform does not provide the necessary information to the users in a concise, transparent and understandable manner.
Information Commissioner John Edwards said: “We all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with the right data privacy safeguards in place.
“Companies providing digital services are legally obligated to apply such protections, but our interim view is that TikTok does not meet that requirement.
“It has been clear to me that our work to better protect children online involves working with organizations but will also involve enforcement action where necessary.”
Mr. Edwards also revealed that the ICO has a total of six investigations underway into digital service companies that have not “taken their responsibility for child safety seriously enough”.
The Children’s Code, introduced in September 2021, sets out new data protection practices for online services that children can use.
The code builds on existing data protection laws and includes financial penalties for serious breaches.
The ICO has yet to reach a conclusion on its findings and is ready to “carefully review any representation” from TikTok before making a final decision.
A TikTok spokesperson said: “While we respect the role of ICOs in protecting privacy in the UK, we disagree with the preliminary views expressed and intend to officially respond to the ICO in due time.”