Italy’s knowledge privateness authority has ordered video sharing app TikTok to quickly block the accounts of any customers whose ages can’t be confirmed, Reuters reported. The order comes after the demise of a 10-year-old woman in Palermo, whose mother and father informed authorities their daughter was collaborating in a “blackout challenge” she noticed on the app. The kid died of asphyxiation, and authorities are investigating whether or not anybody invited her to attempt the problem.
The Italian Knowledge Safety Authority ordered TikTok to dam unverified customers in Italy till at the least February 15th. The corporate told The Guardian it had not discovered content material on its platform which might have inspired the kid to take part within the problem, however mentioned it was cooperating with the investigation.
TikTok didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from The Verge on Saturday however a spokesperson informed Reuters: “Privacy and safety are absolute priorities for TikTok and we are constantly working to strengthen our policies, our processes and our technologies to protect our community and younger users in particular.”
Underneath its phrases of service, users must be at least 13 years outdated to join an account on TikTok, however Italian authorities mentioned it’s simple to get round that rule. TikTok has a model of its app within the US for kids below 13— TikTok for Younger Users— which is supposed to restrict the content material and interplay obtainable to these customers.
Because it skyrocketed in reputation, TikTok spent a lot of the previous yr including extra privateness controls for youthful customers’ accounts. It launched remote parental controls and allowed mother and father to change kids’ privacy settings on the app. Earlier this month, TikTok updated the default privacy settings for customers between 13 and 15 years outdated, placing limits on who can see and touch upon their movies.
However children’s privacy advocates have argued that TikTok doesn’t do sufficient to guard kids on its platform. Its Beijing-based mother or father firm ByteDance paid a $5.7 million fine to the US Federal Commerce Fee in 2019 for an earlier model of TikTok known as Musical.ly, over allegations it violated the Kids’s On-line Privateness Act (COPPA) in permitting customers below 13 to join the app with out their mother and father’ consent.
The momentary suspension of unverified accounts in Italy bans TikTok from “further processing user data for which there is no absolute certainty of age and, consequently, of compliance with the provisions related to the age requirement.”