App Popular with Kids Fined for Collecting Their Data

By March 4, 2019 For Parents, News
A phone screen

Do your kids use Musical.ly (now known as TikTok)?

From an Associated Press story: The FTC said the app violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires kid-oriented websites to get parents’ consent before collecting personal information from children under 13.

The app changed its practices in 2017 to officially ban kids under 13 from joining, but it wasn’t hard to find children as young as 8 or 9 sharing short videos of themselves on the platform.

The FTC said the app has been downloaded by more than 200 million people worldwide, and 65 million in the U.S.

It built a devoted community of self-described “musers” who regularly shared lip-syncing, dancing, gymnastics or comedy videos. But the app also raised concerns among many parents, especially after news reports of adult predators using the app to contact children.

Smith said that along with failing to adequately seek parent’s permission, the operators of Musical.ly didn’t honor parents’ requests for personal information to be deleted. Smith said the company deleted some under-age accounts but didn’t delete their videos and profile information from its own servers.

Profile information often included email addresses as well as a child’s name, age, school and picture. Until October 2016, one of the app’s features allowed users to find nearby users within a 50-mile radius.

Read the full story on kids and Musical.ly.

A child with his hands on a smartphone

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