The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) stated on Wednesday fines TikTok Pte Ltd., a video sharing platform, a penalty of 186 million won ($155,000) for mishandling user data within rising global privacy issues.
The country’s top telecom regulator said that it accomplished an investigation concerning TikTok over uncertainties that the popular social media platform disseminated user data to the Chinese government. The KCC also noted that the social media app broke telecom laws by collecting the data of children aged below 14 without parental consent. TikTok did not correctly inform users of its overseas transfer of personal data.
Based in China, ByteDance-owned TikTok acquired international popularity with more than 800 million active users worldwide. The platform showcases short videos that allow users to tell their stories lasting between 15 seconds to 1 minute per video.
Since its launch in 2016, 2 billion users downloaded the application making TikTok the world’s most popular social media platform. About 3 million users in Korea enjoy using the short-form video app.
According to the KCC, TikTok unlawfully gathered 6,000 pieces of user data from children under the age of 14, and transmitted user data in Korea into its servers in Singapore and the U.S. without consent.
KCC Follows U.S. and India
Even as TikTok developed into one of the most downloaded apps worldwide since its launch outside China in 2017, regulatory issues stained its progress in the U.S., Indonesia, and India.
The United States imposed a penalty of 6.8 billion won ($5.7 million) in February 2019 for illegally collecting children’s data, which prompted the telecom regulator to probe into TikTok since October last year.
U.S. President Donald Trump considered banning TikTok earlier this month because of privacy concerns. At the same time, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued an order to ban the app late last month and 58 other Chinese apps. The order came weeks after a border clash transpired between Indian and Chinese troops.
According to WiseApp, an industry tracker, the app had 3.4 million users in South Korea in December last year. The platform already gained numerous teenage followers since it launched in 2017 in Korea and used by many K-pop artists.