FTC Issues Record Fine For COPPA Violation

Author:Mr Aaron D Charfoos, Jennifer C. Everett, Mary Alexander Myers and Spencer K. Beall
Profession:Jones Day

Musical.ly app receives $5.7 million fine for collecting personal information in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

On February 27, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") issued a record $5.7 million civil penalty against a video social networking application, Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, to settle allegations that Musical.ly violated the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"). COPPA limits the collection of personal information (including basic information like name and email address) from children under the age of 13 without parental consent and gives parents and children more control over the use of that data.

The law applies to commercial websites and online services that are wholly or partially directed to children under 13 years of age as well as on general-audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they collect personal information from children under 13. In addition to the civil penalty, Musical.ly must remove videos uploaded by users under 13 and change its business practices to comply with COPPA.

According to the FTC's complaint, Musical.ly violated COPPA by collecting and using children's personal information without notifying the children's parents or obtaining their consent. In its first three years of business, Musical.ly required users to...

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