Italy takes action against TikTok after the girl’s death

Italy’s data protection authority says it is imposing an immediate ban on TikTok’s access to data for any age whose age has not been verified

MILAN – Italy’s data protection authority said on Friday it is imposing an immediate ban on TikTok’s access to data for any age whose age has not been verified.

The authority said it was acting “urgently” after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Sicily, who died while participating in the so-called “blackout” challenge while using the Chinese-owned video-sharing social network.

Sicily prosecutors are investigating the case.

The Data Protection Authority indicated that it advised TikTok in December of a series of violations, including scant attention to the protection of minors, the ease with which users under the age of 13 could subscribe to the platform – against its own rules – the lack of transparency in information provided to users and the use of automatic settings. That does not respect privacy.

The block will remain in place at least until February 15, when more assessments will be made.

TikTok earlier this month rolled out some tighter privacy features for users under the age of 18, including a new default private setting for accounts with users between the ages of 13 and 15. The new practices, affecting users around the world, followed a move by US regulators to ask TikTok and other social media services to disclose how their practices affect children and teens.

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