According to a Financial Times report, TikTok privacy features are being exploited for child sexual abuse materials and might be scrutinized by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, agencies dealing with the handling of child sexual abuse materials.
The report suggests the US Department of Justice is reviewing how predators are exploiting a specific TikTok privacy feature.
Erin Burke, unit chief of the child exploitation investigations unit at Homeland Security’s cybercrime division said, “It is a perfect place for predators to meet, groom, and engage children.”
TikTok shared its views in an email to the internet media saying, “We’re not aware of any of the government investigations as alleged by the Financial Times, but TikTok has a zero-tolerance policy on CSAM. Upon reading this story, we reached out to HSI to begin a dialogue and discuss opportunities to work together on our shared mission of ending child sexual exploitation online — just as we regularly engage with law enforcement agencies across the country on this crucial topic.”
TikTok happens to be the most downloaded app in the world in 2022. TikTok has struggled with handling the content generated by its users. ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok has nearly 10,000 moderators worldwide and is hiring additional staff to handle the content.
Other social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are also trying to eliminate issues related to child sexual abuse, including photos and videos posted on their platforms.
Earlier in 2019, TikTok was investigated in the UK on how it handled children’s data and whether it ensured kids’ safety. The same year the video-sharing platform ended up paying $5.7 million to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges that it collected children’s personal information.
US Senate, in February, introduced the Kids Online Safety Act that requires social media platforms to provide additional safeguards for children. This includes limiting minors’ use of the platforms and restricting the platforms’ use of their personal data.
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