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TikTok child privacy complaint referred to US justice department

The TikTok logo is displayed on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen.
The TikTok logo is displayed on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen. Copyright Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
Copyright Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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TikTok could face pressure in the US as a child privacy complaint was referred by regulators to the justice department.


US regulators said on Tuesday that they “uncovered reason to believe” TikTok and its parent company ByteDance are “violating or are about to violate” a US child privacy law.

The law requires kid-oriented websites to get parental permission before collecting information about those under the age of 13.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) referred the complaint to the US justice department. The agency also cited potential violations of the FTC Act, the law that outlines its enforcement responsibilities.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the substance of the referral from the regulators against TikTok, with a spokesperson saying they consulted with the FTC in advance of the referral and will continue to do so.

TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek said the social media platform has been working with the FTC for more than a year to address its concerns and was "disappointed the agency is pursuing litigation instead of continuing to work with us on a reasonable solution".

“We strongly disagree with the FTC’s allegations, many of which relate to past events and practices that are factually inaccurate or have been addressed,” Haurek said in a statement.

The investigation began in connection with a compliance review of, TikTok's predecessor, following a 2019 settlement for violations of the child privacy law.

The FTC said that while it does not typically announce it has referred a complaint to the justice department, it had "determined that doing so here is in the public interest".

TikTok also faces a possible ban in the US after lawmakers passed a law requiring Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the platform.

European regulators fined TikTok €345 million last year for failing to protect children's privacy.

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