Italy’s Data Protection Authority Asks TikTok to Remove Accounts Under the Age of 13 and Apply New Steps to Ensure a Secure Environment on the Platform

TikTok which is a short video creating platform has a huge following o it and there are users who are using the platform who are underage when it comes to the age criteria of the application. Bu TikTok just took action against it.

TikTok just recently removed 500K TikTok users in Italy which it speculated to be under the age of 13. In between February 9th to April 21st more than 12.5 million users on the platform were ked to verify their ages again. You must be wondering why TikTok decided to take action now?

Well, this action was done after the country’s data protection watchdog earlier this year ordering it to recheck the age of all Italian users and block access to any under the age of 13. The PDA took this action after an incident of a 10-year-old girl from Palermo took place who died of asphyxiation after participating in a “blackout challenge” on the social network.

However, we know how hard it is to actually verify someone’s age online and children can insert a false age that fit the age requirement criteria rather easily and get a pass through the application and hence it was difficult for TikTok to properly survey who on their platform did not fit the age requirements.

Though, the application removed the 500’000 users it thought was under the age of 16 out of which 400,000 were those which declared an age under 13 while 140,000 users were removed through what the DPA describes as “a combination of moderation and reporting tools” implemented within the app.

After this incident of the little girl and Italy’s PDA implementing strict rules on TikTok the company has pledged to work better and strengthen its ability to detect and block underage users. The company said its main goal is to protect the privacy and maintain the security of its users and give special attention to the underage audience on its application and hence it will be taking some steps towards maintaining a more secure environment on their platform.

The company has come forward with great plans which also include developing an AI technology to detect user’s age rather accurately.

Alexandra Evans, who is the company’s head of child safety in Europe enlightened the public that the company is also planning on making the accounts of people under the age of 16 private by default and are also working on introducing a Family Pairing feature which will allow parents to link their young one’s account on the platform and keep a check on them.

According to PDA, the company has also agreed to launch ad campaigns, both in app and through radio and newspapers in Italy, to raise awareness about safe use of the platform and get the message out that it is not suitable for under-13s including targeting this messaging in a language and format that’s likely to engage underage minors themselves.

TikTok will be taking all these actions really soon to ensure a more positive and secure environment on the platform.

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