FTC Investigates on TikTok’s Privacy Matters

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating TikTok’s privacy and security, as stated by two anonymous sources familiar with the app’s data and security policies, according to CNN.  

The current investigation has added an extra complication for the social media platform as it’s already facing a potential ban in the United States due to its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.  

The sources have stated that the FTC is investigating TikTok for suspected violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection rule. The rule requires companies to notify parents and obtain their consent before creating an account and collecting data from 13-year-old children. They also state that the agency is conducting another probe to determine whether TikTok has violated part of the FTC Act that prohibits “unfair or deceptive” business practices while denying that individuals in China can access TikTok user data. 

One of the sources claims that in the upcoming weeks, the FTC may file a lawsuit against TikTok or reach a settlement with the business. Politico first broke the story of the investigation. When questioned about the investigation, FTC Director of Public Affairs Douglas Farrar declined to comment. No immediate response to the request was given from TikTok. 

The FTC-TikTok probe is occurring at the same time as the application is facing an existential threat to privacy and security issues. ByteDance, the mother company, has denied any assertions that the short-form video-sharing platform poses on the safety of US citizens. The platform has made a statement which said that the Chinese government has never had access to the data of the users in the US. 

Cybersecurity experts claim that ByteDance is obligated by Chinese law to comply with the nation’s intelligence requests. This could potentially jeopardize US user data, as ByteDance owns TikTok. In order to solve that problem, TikTok has implemented internal protocols that restrict access by non-US workers and moved its user data from US users onto cloud servers run by US tech giant Oracle. 

TikTok is currently facing numerous challenges. The question remains: will ByteDance relinquish control of TikTok and sell it to the highest American bidder? 

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