(Slashdot) – If Microsoft or another company buys TikTok before President Trump bans the Chinese-owned video app on national security grounds, it will acquire a giant community of devoted fans and a lucrative platform for selling ads. It might be buying something else, too: a big population of users ages 14 and under.
The minimum age for using TikTok is 13. From a report:
In July, TikTok classified more than a third of its 49 million daily users in the United States as being 14 years old or younger, according to internal company data and documents that were reviewed by The New York Times.
While some of those users are likely to be 13 or 14, one former employee said TikTok workers had previously pointed out videos from children who appeared to be even younger that were allowed to remain online for weeks. The number of users who TikTok believes might be younger than 13 raises questions about whether the company is doing enough to protect them.
In the United States, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires internet platforms to obtain parental permission before collecting personal information on children under 13.
The operators of Musical.ly, an app that was merged into TikTok in 2018, paid a $5.7 million fine last year to settle accusations from the Federal Trade Commission that it had broken those rules.