FTC Investigating TikTok For Allegedly Violating Data, Security Practices

Amid allegations that TikTok violated federal law over its data and security practices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an investigation into the social media company, which is owned by the Chinese entertainment company ByteDance.

The investigation comes as ByteDance has faced increased scrutiny over its handling of U.S. user data and its impact on America’s national security. Lawmakers in Congress have once again begun efforts to coerce the Chinese company to either divest TikTok or ban the social media platform.

FTC’s investigation into TikTok focuses on alleged violations of a federal law barring “unfair and deceptive” business practices and breaches of provisions in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, according to the National Pulse.

The agency is reportedly seeking to find out whether TikTok deceived the U.S. government when it claimed it was not sharing American user data with ByteDance employees in China.

The National Pulse pointed out that several whistleblowers have come forward, alleging that the data protections the social media company claims to have put in place are merely a façade.

Adding to the data concerns, the FTC also launched an investigation into whether TikTok complies with a federal provision requiring parental consent for minors under the age of 13 to use such applications.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed legislation, forcing social media companies to obtain parental consent for users under 14 years old. Those in violation of the law could face a civil penalty of up to $50,000.

While speaking at a press conference regarding the bill, the Florida governor said, “You can have a kid in the house, safe, seemingly, and then you have predators that can get right in there into your own home. You can do everything right and they know how to manipulate these platforms.”

DeSantis had previously vetoed an earlier version of the legislation that prohibited teenagers under 16 years old from having a social media account.

The FTC noted that it was near the end of its investigation into TikTok’s data practices and will soon decide whether to seek legal action against the Chinese-owned company. If the agency decides to move forward in court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) would have 45 days to counter the action.