Social video app TikTok will pay $5.7 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected personal information from children.
TikTok, previously known as Musical.ly, lets users record themselves lip-synching to popular music videos and share the clips with friends. The app has reportedlyon iOS and Android.
The FTC had alleged that the app's operators violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by failing to obtain parental consent before collecting personal info on kids under the age of 13, according to a release Wednesday. TikTok also failed to delete that personal information when they received complaints from parents and their children, according to the FTC.
"This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children: We take enforcement of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in the release, which noted that this is the largest-ever civil penalty obtained by the commission in a children's privacy case.
In conjunction with the settlement, TikTok said that starting Wednesday it'll direct younger users to "a limited, separate app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience." The version for younger users doesn't allow sharing of personal information and puts "extensive" limitations on content and interactions, TikTok said.
TikTok also launched a series of safety videos Wednesday aimed at guiding users through the app's community guidelines, privacy settings and digital well-being tools.
As part of the settlement, the app must also comply with COPPA going forward and take down videos made by kids under the age of 13.