The U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are looking into allegations on TikTok, the popular short video company. As per claims it has failed to follow-up on a 2019 agreement. According to an interview with two people by the agencies, is aimed at protecting children’s privacy.
The new development by the two major agencies is another latest bump, popular with teens. TikTok has seen increased scrutiny in the United States; rise sharply, including from the national security Committee on Foreign Investment because of its Chinese parent corporation.
On Monday, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, said that the U.S. is looking at banning TikTok. He also suggested that it shares information with the Chinese government, a charge it denied.
In May, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and many others by the Center for Digital Democracy had asked the FTC to look into allegations on TikTok. The company has failed to delete videos and personal information of its user’s age 13 and younger among other violations.
A TikTok spokesman said they take “safety seriously for all our users,” adding in they said, “accommodate users under 13 in a limited app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for a younger audience.”
The social media giant has grown at an unprecedented pace to gain popularity among U.S. teenagers. Last year, the company said that nearly 60% of TikTok users and around 26.5 million monthly active users are aged 16 to 24 in the U.S.
Moreover, many lawmakers in the U.S. have raised national security concerns over the company’s handling of user data. They have said that they were worried about Chinese laws requiring support and cooperation from domestic companies.
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok is one of many China-based companies that have taken a strong hit due to heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade. The company has poached Disney’s Kevin Mayer as its chief executive due to the intense scrutiny by U.S. regulations.