According to some informed sources, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Department of Justice began to jointly investigate the popular app TikTok. It seems the app failed to implement the 2019 agreement to protect children’s privacy.
A staff member of a Massachusetts science and technology policy organization and another source said they held conference calls with FTC and Justice Department officials. They have discussed the allegations that TikTok failed to fulfill the agreement announced in February 2019.
In May of this year, the Digital Democracy Center, the Non-Commercial Childhood Movement and other organizations asked the FTC to investigate their allegations that TikTok failed to delete videos and personal information of users 13 and younger in accordance with the agreement. And there were other violations as well. However, it is still uncertain whether these two institutions will take any action against TikTok.
A TikTok spokesperson said that the company takes ‘all users’ security very seriously. In the United States, TikTok ‘provides a limited application experience for users 13 and younger. And it introduces additional security and privacy protection measures designed specifically for young users.’
David Monahan, head of the Non-Commercial Childhood Movement, issued a statement. He said that the officials of the FTC and the US Department of Justice both met with representatives of the organization via video to discuss the matter. FTC and TikTok reached an initial settlement agreement, and the Ministry of Justice often submits court documents for FTC.
Monahan said: ‘From our conversation, we can feel that they are investigating the allegations we made in the complaint.’ The FTC declined to comment. And the Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The US May Ban TikTok
Yesterday, we reported that the US is going to block many Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an exclusive interview with Fox News. He said, ‘I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at.’
That’s not difficult to guess US lawmakers’ concerns are related to the user data handled by the app. They are worried about some Chinese laws. They require domestic companies ‘to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.’
Moreover, it seems the app will withdraw from Hong Kong market. ‘Considering recent events, we decided to stop operating the TikTok application in Hong Kong’. This is what the TikTok spokesperson said.