Why TikTok Could Be Facing a $29 Million Fine In The UK

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Social Media and Children’s Privacy: Why TikTok could be facing a $29 Million fine in the UK

The data privacy topic has increasingly been in the spotlight over the past few years, but an important topic that is far too often overlooked is the privacy of children online. From processing children’s data to allowing easy access for child predators, the world of social media has a long way to go to truly protect our children. 

TikTok’s $29 Million Fine

TikTok might be facing a $29 million (£27 million) fine by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office after it found that the social media platform broke child data protection laws for two years. It’s alleged that between 2018 and 2020, TikTok may have processed data of child users under the age of 13 without parental consent. It has also been stated that TikTok failed to provide information to users in a “concise, transparent, and easily understood way,” and processed special category data including sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and religious and political beliefs. 

This isn’t the first time the platform has faced a fine like this. In 2019, ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, was fined $5.7 million by the US Federal Trade Commission for breaching the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. But protecting children’s data is only part of the picture.


While organisations like TikTok can and should do better to protect children online, a growing movement is highlighting that parents should monitor how much of their children they share with the vast world of social media. The advent of social media has allowed parents to use platforms as digital scrapbooks documenting the lives of their children. Many parents have taken to sharing photos and information from before birth well into their children’s adult lives. Everything from sharing details like their child’s full name and birth date to sharing photos of them as they grow up, becomes a threat to the child’s privacy. 

‘Sharenting’ as this practice is known online, is being highlighted as an invasion of children’s privacy by making their information and their likeness available to child predators and cybercriminals. This leads to parents and loved ones sharing children’s information and images with huge unsavoury communities at the click of a button. 

Protecting Children’s Privacy Online

Protecting the privacy of children in the digital era is in the hands of both social media platforms and guardians. By limiting children’s social media access, not only do you make it harder for big companies to abuse their data, but you also make it harder for child predators to gain access to information and content about your children. 

Limiting the social media useof our children isn’t the only thing you can do. It’s important to limit your own activity when it comes to sharing their information and pictures. Not sharing important information like their full name, birth date, pictures, school, and residential area, goes a long way to ensuring their safety both physically and online. 

If you must share this type of content, it’s vital that you reevaluate your privacy settings on the platforms you use and limit the people who can see the content you share. There is no reason that your acquaintances from high school should have full access to your child’s information and photographs. After all, how well do you really know them?