EXCLUSIVE US probe allegations TikTok violated children’s privacy.

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Reuters) – The Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Justice are investigating allegations that the popular TikTok app failed to comply with a 2019 deal aimed at protecting children’s privacy, according to two people interviewed by the agencies.

A staff member of a Massachusetts technology policy group and another source said they participated in separate conference calls with FTC and Justice Department officials to discuss allegations that the China-based short video sharing app failed had fulfilled an agreement announced in February 2019.

The Center for Digital Democracy, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and others in May asked the FTC to investigate its allegations that TikTok did not delete videos and personal information about users 13 and under, as it had agreed to do, among others. violations.

Reuters was unable to determine whether either agency would take any action against TikTok.

A TikTok spokesperson said they take “security seriously for all of our users” and added that in the United States “they accommodate users under the age of 13 in a limited application experience that introduces additional security and privacy protections designed specifically for a younger audience. ”

FTC officials, who reached the original consent agreement with TikTok, and the Justice Department, which often files court documents for the FTC, met by video with group representatives to discuss the matter, said David Monahan, manager. campaign of the Campaign for a childhood without commercials.

“I had a feeling from our conversation that they are investigating the claims that we made in our complaint,” Monahan said.

A second person, speaking privately, confirmed that the defenders had met with officials from the two agencies to discuss concerns that TikTok violated the consent decree.

The FTC declined to comment. The Justice Department had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Greg Roumeliotis and Echo Wang in New York; Chris Sanders and Tom Brown edition)

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