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TikTok in trouble over potential Violation of Data Protection Laws

TikTok could be into some serious GDPR chargers for violating some policies that govern how tech companies collect and use EU citizens’ data.

A complaint filed by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) alleges that the social video sharing service could have breached several laws in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws that went into effect on 25 May 2018.

The platform is accused of several potential breaches including not specifying the type of data it collects, the reason for the collection and what the data will be used for. TikTok also fails to protect underage users from hidden advertising and potentially harmful content on the platform, the BEUC alleges.

The BEUC also says TikTok’s Terms of Service are “unclear, ambiguous and favour TikTok to the detriment of its users.” It also reveals that TikTok’s copyright terms provide the company with permanent rights to use, distribute and reproduce the videos published by users, without compensation.

“We do not want our youngest ones to be exposed to pervasive hidden advertising and unknowingly turned into billboards when they are just trying to have fun. Together with our members – consumer groups from across Europe – we urge authorities to take swift action,” said Monique Goyens, BEUC’s director-general.

It has also raised concerns about the virtual coins that TikTok users purchase using real cash to gift creators during live streams. These coins cost anywhere between 0.99 cents to $99.99.

The BEUC argues that TikTok’s absolute right to modify the exchange rate between these virtual coins and real cash is unfair to users.

In addition to BEUC’s complaint, consumer organisations in fifteen other EU countries, including France, Germany and Sweden, have raised the alarm over TikTok and urged authorities to investigate the platform’s practices.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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