TikTok yields to the Privacy Guarantor: all profiles disconnected on February 9

The first response of TikTok to the measure with which the Italian Privacy Guarantor has blocked the processing of the app's data: there is still a lot to do, but the real decisions will be taken in Ireland.

The Chinese social most famous among children and adolescents, TikTok, bends to the will of the Italian Privacy Guarantor. But it doesn't upset its business model. This is the synthesis of what TikTok is going to do in order to respond to the recent measure issued by the Italian Privacy Guarantor.

The Authority for the protection of personal data, in fact, after the case of the little girl from Palermo who died during a TikTok challenge, on January 22 had imposed on the Chinese social network the blocking of the processing of data of Italian users for whom the app was not able to verify with certainty the age. TikTok's answer arrived within the required time (the Guarantor had given it time until February 15), but it is only the beginning of a path that will have to be much more complex and effective: the Italian Authority itself, in fact, specifies that it will "monitor the effective effectiveness of the measures that will be adopted".

What TikTok will do on February 9

TikTok has decided to respond to the Garante's requests by blocking the app on February 9: on that day, all Italian profiles will have to log back into the app and declare their age again.

If the user declares to be under 13, his or her account will be automatically removed from the platform. At first, therefore, TikTok will simply repeat what it has already done when activating each new account: ask the user's age and trust what he says.

What TikTok will do in the future

Clearly, this measure, as it has not proved effective in the past, will not be effective either starting February 9: anyone can lie and claim to be over 13 years old even if they are younger. The Guarantor knows this very well and, in fact, is asking TikTok to do much more.

TitkTok included in the app, on January 25, a button to report to the platform users who appear to be under 13 years old and is committed to doubling the number of Italian moderators to better intercept, and sooner, any dangerous content for minors.

The further hypothesis under study is to use artificial intelligence to study user behavior and try to understand at least approximately the age group. It is not impossible: it is enough to use the same profiling algorithms already used by TikTok to show users personalized advertising.

The Italian Privacy Guarantor will no longer manage this second phase, however, but the Irish one, since TikTok has its legal headquarters in Ireland (where it pays very little tax). Our Authority explains: "Since the identification of such solutions requires a balance between the need for accurate verifications and the right to the protection of minors' data, the company has committed to start a discussion with the Privacy Authority of Ireland - the country where the platform has its main establishment - on the use of artificial intelligence for age verification purposes".