Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired FTC Hits TikTok With Record $5.7 Million Fine Over Children’s Privacy

Hexbyte Tech News Wired FTC Hits TikTok With Record $5.7 Million Fine Over Children’s Privacy

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When the lip-syncing app Musical.ly first exploded in popularity nearly four years ago, it was best known for being a teen sensation. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, the app also illegally collected information from children under the age of 13. The agency announced Wednesday that Musical.ly, now known as TikTok, has agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to settle the allegations, which the agency described as “the largest civil penalty ever obtained by the Commission in a children’s privacy case.” TikTok must also comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, going forward and take down any videos uploaded by users under 13.

“This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children: We take enforcement of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law,” FTC chair Joe Simons said in a statement. The FTC’s complaint alleges that Musical.ly violated COPPA by failing to require parental consent for users under 13, neglecting to notify parents about how the app collected personal information on underage users, and not permitting parents to request to have their children’s data deleted.

TikTok subsequently announced on Wednesday that it was launching a separate portion of its app for children under 13, which “introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience.”

“Companies like TikTok have been all too eager to take advantage of child app users at every turn.”

Senator Ed Markey

By essentially combining Vine with Spotify, Musical.ly captured the attention of around 100 million finicky Generation Z consumers. In November 2017, it was bought by Chinese company ByteDance and later rebranded as TikTok. The app—which lets users share 15-second video clips set to music—has now been installed more than a billion times, including 96 millions times in the United States, according to the research firm Sensor Tower. After receiving $3 billion from SoftBank and other investors in October, Bytedance is now considered one of the most valuable privately held startups in the world.

The FTC alleges that TikTok was aware that a “significant percentage” of its users were younger than 13, and that it received thousands of complaints from parents whose underage children had created accounts. Until April 2017, the app’s website even warned parents that “If you have a young child on Musical.ly, please be sure to monitor their activity on the App,” according to the FTC’s complaint. But the app didn’t start requesting users provide their age until later that year, the agency notes. Since then, the app prevented anyone who indicated they were under 13 from creating an account, but its operators didn’t confirm existing users’ ages.

“Kids’ lives are increasingly lived online, and companies like TikTok have been all too eager to take advantage of child app users at every turn,” Ed Markey, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and a crucial figure in COPPA’s passage 20 years ago, said in a statement. He and other lawmakers introduced legislation last year designed to update the law.

TikTok accounts are public by default; other people can see the content users post unless they adjust their privacy settings. But the FTC complaint alleges that even if users set their profiles to private, others could still message them. For years, a number of media outlets have reported that underage users were being solicited to send nude images on Music.ly, and later on TikTok as well.

TikTok says it has now created a separate app experience for users under 13, which does not permit them to share personal information. It doesn’t allow uploading videos, commenting on others’ videos, messaging with users, or maintaining a profile or followers. In short, TikTok will now only allow young kids to consume content—not share it. Starting Wednesday, both new and existing TikTok users will be required to verify their birthday. They will then be directed to the kid-friendly portion of the app if they say they’re under 13. The company also launched a new tutorial series emphasizing privacy and security on its platform.

Two-tiered “mixed audience” systems like what TikTok is implementing were first permitted via an amendment made to COPPA in 2012, according to Dona Fraser, the director of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The FTC credited the unit for bringing attention to the TikTok case Wednesday. “It’s a great way to comply,” she says. “You create two products in one. [Children] get one environment that doesn’t include all the bells and whistles that will trigger COPPA.”

The change will likely have a large impact on TikTok’s community, where very young users have played a significant role since the beginning. Some of the platform’s largest stars, like Lauren Godwin—who has 12.3 million fans—have sung “duets” with kids who appear under 13. It’s not yet clear what the platform will do about these videos, which feature underage users but are not shared directly on their own profiles. A spokesperson for TikTok said some of the implementation details of the new system are still being finalized.

While the FTC voted 5–0 to approve the consent decree, some FTC officials believe TikTok should be required to do more than pay a fine. “FTC investigations typically focus on individual accountability only in certain circumstances—and the effect has been that individuals at large companies have often avoided scrutiny,” commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter wrote in a joint statement. “We should move away from this approach. Executives of big companies who call the shots as companies break the law should be held accountable.”


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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.

Story Highlights

  • 40% of women younger than 30 would like to leave the U.S.
  • 22% who disapprove of Trump would like to move vs. 7% who approve
  • Canada is top desired destination for would-be migrant Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While Donald Trump has spent much of his presidency focused on the number of people who want to get into the U.S., since he took office, record numbers of Americans have wanted to get out.

Though relatively average by global standards, the 16% of Americans overall who said in 2017 and again in 2018 that they would like to permanently move to another country — if they could — is higher than the average levels during either the George W. Bush (11%) or Barack Obama administration (10%).

Desire to Migrate in the U.S.

Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move PERMANENTLY to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?

Average
%
George W. Bush11
Barack Obama10
Donald Trump16
Gallup World Poll

While Gallup’s World Poll does not ask people about their political leanings, most of the recent surge in Americans’ desire to migrate has come among groups that typically lean Democratic and that have disapproved of Trump’s job performance so far in his presidency: women, young Americans and people in lower-income groups.

During the first two years of the Trump administration, a record-high one in five U.S. women (20%) said they would like to move to another country permanently if they could. This is twice the average for women during the Obama (10%) or Bush years (11%) and almost twice the level among men (13%) under Trump. Before the Trump years, there was no difference between men’s and women’s desires to move.

Desire to Migrate at Record Levels for Women, Young People and Low-Income Americans

BushObamaTrump
%%%
Gender
Men101013
Women111020
Age
15-29241830
30-4991019
50+568
Income
Poorest 20%*1330
Richest 20%*812
*Income data unavailable
Gallup World Poll

The 30% of Americans younger than 30 who would like to move also represents a new high — and it is also the group in which the gender gap is the largest. Forty percent of women younger than 30 said they would like to move, compared with 20% of men in this age group. These gender gaps narrow with age and eventually disappear after age 50.

Desire to migrate among the poorest 20% of Americans during Trump’s first two years is also at record levels. It is more than twice as high as the average during Obama’s two terms. So far under Trump, three in 10 Americans (30%) in the poorest 20% say they would like to migrate if they could, compared with an average of 13% under Obama.

But more than anything else, Trump himself may be the primary motivator. Regression analysis shows that regardless of differences by gender, age or income — if Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president, they are more likely to want to leave the U.S. Overall, 22% of Americans who disapproved of Trump’s job performance during his first two years said they would like to move, compared with 7% who approved.

Destination Canada?

Before and after Trump’s election, many Americans — particularly Democrats — threatened to move to Canada (as Republicans did after Obama was elected). Canada always has been one of the top desired destinations for Americans, but that desire has only increased since Trump’s election. In 2018, more than one in four Americans (26%) who would like to move named Canada as the place they would like to go, up from 12% in 2016.

It’s important to note that people’s desire to migrate is typically much higher than their intention to do so — as such, it is unlikely that Americans will be flocking to the Canadian border. In fact, since Trump’s election, Canadian statistics show only a modest uptick in the number of Americans who have moved to Canada.

Bottom Line

After years of remaining flat, the number of Americans — particularly young women — who desire to leave the U.S. permanently is on the rise. This increase is concerning, but none of this suggests that the U.S. is going to suddenly see a mass migration in which it could lose as many as 40% of its young women.

However, the “Trump effect” on Americans’ desire to migrate is a new manifestation of the increasing political polarization in the U.S. Before Trump took office, Americans’ approval or disapproval of the president was not a push factor in their desire to migrate.

Dato Tsabutashvili contributed to this analysis.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Gallup

These results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 adults per year, aged 15 and older, conducted in the U.S. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

World Poll

Gallup’s Migration Research Center

Gallup’s Migration Research Center houses the latest and best discoveries on migration.

Learn More about Gallup’s Migration Research Center


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Fifteen percent of the world’s adults — or more than 750 million people — say they would like to move to another country if they had the opportunity. This is up from previous years, but still shy of the record high of 16% set between 2007 and 2009.

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/245789/record-numbers-americans-leave.aspxGallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
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