The Chinese giant was forced to comply with Italian regulations: after criticism from the Privacy Guarantor, it removed 540 thousand profiles of users under 13 years of age.
Due to the massive presence of users, it's unlikely that anyone will have noticed the difference but, in the last few months alone, TikTok has decreased the presence of Italians on its platform by over 500 thousand units. These are important numbers, related to a particular situation that the social dedicated to short videos had to face, in a decisive way, together with the Guarantor of Personal Data.
The operations that led to the removal of accounts took place between February 9 and April 21, 2021 and involved more than 12 and a half million Italians. Through a request addressed to subscribers, the Guarantor was able to identify more than half a million profiles managed by infratredicennials. According to the regulation, access to the application is allowed only above the age of 13. However, there is no shortage of cases of very young people on the platform; as confirmed by recent crime stories, most recently the one that caused the death of a 10-year-old girl in Palermo to emulate an "extreme challenge" launched by some users, this rule is not always respected.
Why TikTok deleted the accounts
The conclusion of the Guarantor's checks on Italian members led to the deletion of 500 thousand profiles because they belonged to children under 13. Of these, about 400 thousand had declared to belong to the age group to which it is not allowed to be part of the people of the app. For another 140 thousand, the results of the investigation were instead the combined action of moderation and reporting tools that placed the accounts in the box of likely under 13, leading to the immediate ban.
TikTok, the measures decided with the Guarantor
After having provided for the mass removal of the profile pages and usernames reported by the Guarantor, TikTok was again involved in the implementation of targeted interventions with the aim of preventing children from accessing the social network. In the agreement, measures were included that aim to ensure the deletion, within 48 hours, of reported accounts belonging to people under 13.
To this is added the blocking of the devices used, so as to prevent any kind of access to the app during their use. Artificial intelligence has also been called into play in the operation, in order to minimize the risk of the presence of users of the specific age group through solutions to be studied and implemented in the near future.
Not less important will be the communication, both between TikTok and the kids with an interactive and engaging information that will allow a better understanding of the content of the documentation, as well as between the platform and the Guarantor itself, in order to develop increasingly effective methodologies for the disclosure of access rules. New initiatives, via app and mass media, will educate to a conscious use of the application, underlining the inadequacy of the same for the infratredicennials.
TikTok and the Guarantor, how will the operations continue
According to what is underlined in a note spread on the official site, to verify that the agreements signed with the company are respected will be the Guarantor. And, despite the actions put in place, the authority will continue to monitor in order to eradicate the phenomenon of the presence of young people on the Chinese social.