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Underage Users and New Legal Challenges Faced by TikTok

TikTok immediately after its launch managed to become one of the most used app, especially among the younger generation and despite its amazing growth it has faced a lot of hurdles and backlash on every path it takes but is still managing to drive on the road to success.

The app has faced a lot of bans, quite recently the ban in US which it luckily managed to surpass, but it is still under strict observation as governments around the world claim that it has harmful impacts on the minds of the younger generations and has international security issues because of its Chinese ownership.

Governments from around the world, started legal investigations against TikTok for different purposes. A newly launched legal proceeding in the UK has ordered authorities to examine ways through which TikTok tracks and uses data of its underage audience. According to Sky News, a 12- year- old girl from London is putting damage claims against TikTok and its connected firms, and its predecessor Music.ly claiming that the app has misused her personal data, which is a breach of property under EU and UK data laws.

Pakistan, in October, had temporarily banned TikTok claiming that it showed explicit, immoral and indecent content, which was inappropriate for the younger users of the app. TikTok made changes and the ban was immediately lifted.

In France, the government ordered to look under TikTok’s data collection practices as a means to protect the younger generation.

UK, in July of 2019, through its Information Commissioner sent to see how TikTok handles the data of its users and whether or not the privacy and security of users is maintained.

FTC, in 2019, sued TikTok with 5.7 million dollars for the illegal collection of names, pictures, email addresses and location of kids under the age of 13.

TikTok in India lost almost 200 million users within a day in June of this year after the app was banned because of the ongoing tensions between India and China.

According to New York Times, about one third of TikTok users in the US are under the age of 14, and considering the fact that the full experience of the app is only available for the age group over 13 years, though the app does provide a more limited experience for users under the age of 13 but the key focus of the app should be to protect the young users.

Though TikTok divides and splits users into age appropriate categories for a safer environment for the younger users by asking their age when they are signing up for the app, but a lot of users are misusing that part of the information and a lot of young users are having access to the full experience of TikTok.

Even though, TikTok’s purpose is to provide a light and fun video content for its user, the younger generation is misusing and posting inappropriate content just for the sake of a few likes, but this is the case of almost every social media app, which needs to filter its content for a peaceful online experience.


Photo: Getty

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