Video sharing app TikTok has been slapped with the largest ever fine from a US regulatory body in a child privacy case after it was found to have illegally gathered personal data on children.
The fine from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amounts to $5.7 million with the company said to conducted “disturbing practices” that included the collecting and exposing of children's locations.
TikTok was also accused of ignoring requests from parents to delete the information it held.
The penalty was issued by the FTC, following an investigation into Musical.ly, a company that merged with TikTok back in August 2017.
As part of the settlement with the FTC, TikTok was told to down all videos made by children under age 13.
In response to the controversy, TikTok set up a separate app, limited feature app for children that removes the ability to share, comment, message or post a profile. It is requiring US users to verify their age upon opening the main TikTok app, though this will not yet be an option rolled out in other countries.
TikTok said in a statement it is committed to creating measures to protect users, including tools for parents to protect their kids and for users to enable additional privacy settings.