TikTok has been fined €345 million by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) for not adequately protecting the privacy of its younger users. The investigation found that the sign-up process for teen users made their accounts public by default, posing a risk to under-aged children. The “family pairing” feature was also found to be inadequate, allowing adults to enable direct messaging for users aged 16 and 17 without their consent. TikTok has responded saying it had addressed most of the issues prior to the investigation. The fine could have implications for Canadian regulators who have been investigating TikTok for months. Experts say that privacy rulings from regulators in one country often influence those in other jurisdictions. The Canadian probe into TikTok is ongoing. The Irish DPC has been criticized for its slow investigations into Big Tech companies. European Union regulators have described some of TikTok’s design practices as “dark patterns” designed to bias user choices. This finding could incentivize tech companies to avoid using such patterns. However, the DPC found that TikTok’s measures to verify users’ age were in compliance with regulations. Experts stress the need for social media companies to safeguard the data of younger users, who may lack the capacity to make informed decisions about their digital footprints. While some parental controls and tools may be helpful for younger users, they may be less effective for older teenagers.

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By hassani

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