Tik-Tok – the clock is ticking for data privacy practices

18 April 2023

The rise of social media platforms has naturally led to an increase in concerns about data privacy and protection. Over the past year, one platform that has been at the centre of these concerns is TikTok.

TikTok, a popular video-sharing app that allows its users to create and share short video clips, has become increasingly popular amongst the younger generation around the word.

This has naturally led to concerns around TikTok’s handling of user data which in turn has caused heightened scrutiny and investigations from governments around the world, including the United Kingdom.

Why are there concerns surrounding data privacy practices?

The concerns surrounding TikTok’s data privacy practices have been long-held and well documented, with concerns centering around TikTok’s alleged collection and sharing of user data with the Chinese government. This led to a large number of individuals expressing their concern about the possibility of the Chinese government using TikTok to collect sensitive user data, including location data and browsing history.

TikTok has denied these claims, whilst insisting that they have strict data privacy policies in place to protect their user’s information. However, despite these assurances, TikTok has faced numerous bans across several countries e.g., India, with other countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, United States, the United Kingdom and a number of European countries banning TikTok from government electronic devices.

What financial impact has this had on TikTok?

These concerns continue to be a matter of debate and raise important questions about the balance between personal privacy and national security.

As technology continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to prioritise data protection and transparency. TikTok has faced fines from entities such as the Dutch Data Protection Authority (€750,000) and the CNIL (€5 million) for various data protection breaches.

Most recently, on 4 April 2023, TikTok was issued a fine of £12.7 million from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after its investigation found the company breached UK data protection laws by processing the data of 1.4 million children who were under the age of 13 and found to be using the platform without parental consent. The investigation also found that TikTok had done “very little, if anything” to check who was using the platform and to remove any underage users.

Moving forward, TikTok has confirmed that additional measures have been put in place to determine how old a user is. This has been achieved by providing training to moderators to ensure they are able to identify underage accounts and to provide tools for parents to request the deletion of their underage children’s account.

What does this mean for your business?

In light of the above, it is imperative that your business is adequately equipped to deal with personal data and is acting in compliance with the UK data protection rules, which includes conducting regular reviews of any data protection measures already in place and ensuring that these are abided by.

Redkite Solicitors have a specialist team of Corporate and Commercial lawyers who are here to provide experienced, pragmatic and specialised advice on data protection. This includes, conducting data protection audits to identify additional compliance needs, drafting relevant policies, and providing advice relating to the implementation of such policies, including training. The Team will ensure that you guided through the process and will be with you, every step of the way.

This article was written by Redkite Solicitors, Alice Johnston. To find out more about Alice and the support that she can provide to your business, visit her website profile here.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.