Colombia, Netherlands to Probe TikTok’s Management of Children’s Data

Colombia’s commerce regulator will be investigating whether Chinese-owned social media app TikTok complies with laws on the collection and treatment of children’s and adolescents’ personal data.The announcement Tuesday came four days after the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said it would begin looking into how TikTok handles the data of its millions of young users.TikTok has achieved monumental success during the COVID-19 outbreak, with millions of people worldwide using the platform for entertainment and content creation during the crisis.Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is estimated to have between 500 million and 1 billion users. The platform allows these users to create and share short videos using filters and effects provided by the app.The app has come under increasing scrutiny by governments across the globe.”The superintendency is seeking to establish if TikTok Pte Ltd. has demonstrably implemented the principle of responsibility in the treatment of data from Colombian citizens who use its services,” the Columbian Superintendency of Industry and Commerce said in a statement posted on its website.Minors, who are the app’s largest demographic, are afforded special protections under Colombia’s constitution, the statement said.The Dutch watchdog, DPA, has also expressed concerns about TikTok’s protection of its users’ private information.  “For many users, this is an important way of staying in touch with friends and spending time together, particularly during the current coronavirus crisis,” the DPA said. “The rise of TikTok has led to growing concerns about privacy.”The DPA highlighted the vulnerability of minors online and is poised to investigate if the app clearly states how it uses data and whether “parental consent is required for TikTok to collect, store and use children’s personal data,” and “examine whether TikTok adequately protects the privacy of Dutch children,” it said in a statement.

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