The Italian knowledge privateness watchdog ordered video app TikTok on Friday to block the accounts of any users in Italy whose age it couldn’t confirm following the death of a 10-year-old girl who had been utilizing the Chinese-owned app.
In a press release, the regulator mentioned that though TikTok had dedicated to ban registration for kids aged below 13, it was nonetheless simple to circumvent this rule.
As a outcome, it mentioned TikTok had to block unverified consumer accounts till no less than February 15 awaiting additional info.
A spokeswoman for TikTok in Italy mentioned the corporate was analyzing the communication acquired from the authority.
“Privacy and safety are absolute priorities for TikTok and we are constantly working to strengthen our policies, our processes and our technologies to protect our community and younger users in particular,” she mentioned in an emailed remark.
Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok has been quickly rising in recognition world wide, notably amongst youngsters.
The ruling got here after a girl died of asphyxiation in Palermo, Sicily, in a case that has shocked Italy.
Her dad and mom mentioned she had been collaborating in a so-called blackout problem on TikTok, placing a belt round her neck and holding her breath whereas recording herself on her cellphone.
“TikTok was her world. And YouTube. That’s how she spent her time,” the girl’s father Angelo Sicomero was quoted as saying in Saturday’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into doable incitement to suicide and are trying to see whether or not somebody invited the girl to participate within the problem.
“The watchdog decided to intervene as a matter of urgency following the terrible case of the 10-year-old girl from Palermo,” the authority mentioned.
It mentioned TikTok was banned from “further processing user data for which there is no absolute certainty of age and, consequently, of compliance with the provisions related to the age requirement”.
An official mentioned this meant that users of unverified accounts would not find a way to add movies or work together with different folks on the platform.
The watchdog mentioned it had raised considerations with TikTok in December over what it known as a sequence of violations, together with allegations the agency had failed to defend minors.
It added that it had instructed the authorities in Ireland about its choice as a result of TikTok has introduced that it will run its European operations out of Dublin.