Tik Tok Faulted by UK’s ICO and NSPCC for Lack of Child Safety Controls
Tik Tok, the leading video-sharing app that enables users to create short videos from their smartphones, and at the same time livestream their videos via Musical. Ly, is now under scrutiny of UK media and child safety watch dogs.
In February this year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tik Tok was slapped a fine amounting to $5.7 million (£4.2 million) for collecting personal information of children below 13 years old without securing parental consent.
Yet the UK’s Information Commissioner’ s Office (ICO) is currently investigating Tik Tok beyond the data protection concerns raised by the FTC. The ICO is currently scrutinising the safety controls available on the app’s direct messaging system, in the wake of separate investigations being conducted by the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC),
The NSPCC has been receiving reports that young female users of Tik Tok and its Musical.ly website, are regularly receiving intrusive replies to their video posts from individuals they do not know, whom complainants described as “creepy.”.
ICO’s scrutiny of the TIK Tok social media site confirms that its app opens avenues for adults to send private messages to children who do not even know them.
Main Issue about Tik Tok App and Its Musical.ly Social Media Site
ICO’s investigation of Tik Tok’s Musical.ly is that unlike other social media sites, which prioritises and controls feeds according to user’s privacy settings, the site by way of its “For You” feature, regularly sends feeds that practically steer users toward posts of other Tik Tok live streamers. As a result, Tik Tok users who send “creepy” messages continue to find and like more posts of younger girls, streaming similar videos, soundtracks or using similar hashtags.
According to the NSPCC, since they record a daily average of as many a 22 cyber-related sex crimes committed against children, it is quite apparent that sex offenders continue to target children by getting in touch with them through live streaming apps like Tik Tok.
NSPCC’s research found that about 10,000 of every 40,000 children ranging in ages between 7 to 16 years old, have live streamed online with people they do not know or have never met. Of those 10,000 children, one in every 20 who has live streamed online with someone they have never met had received request to take off their clothes, via live streaming.