Entertainment News

UK watchdog starts investigating TikTok after accusing the company of providing false information 

The UK communications watchdog is launching an investigation into TikTok for allegedly providing inaccurate information. The enquiry is centered around whether the platform failed to follow a legal information request. 

The investigation was prompted by a report published by Ofcom on Thursday into the efforts of video-sharing platforms to prevent children from accessing harmful content.

TikTok has put the discrepancy down to a technical glitch and says that it identified and reported the issue to Ofcom, prompting the current investigation. The platform added that the accuracy of the information is under scrutiny, not whether its parental controls work in the first place

Ofcom sought information from TikTok, Snap, and Twitch related to their compliance with legal requirements aimed at safeguarding children from content that could harm their physical, mental, or moral development. 

Although all three platforms have implemented measures to prevent children from encountering harmful content, Ofcom found instances where harm could still occur.

Specifically, Ofcom questioned TikTok about its parental control system, “Family Pairing,” introduced in April 2020. 

This system allows parents to link their accounts with their children’s and manage aspects such as screen time, direct messages, content filtering, and privacy settings. While users under 18 can deactivate Family Pairing, parents receive notifications when this happens.

Ofcom expressed concerns about the accuracy of the information provided by TikTok and stated that it might update its report if more accurate information is provided.

According to Ofcom’s research, over a fifth of children aged 8 to 17 have adult online profiles, despite platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and Snap requiring users to be 13 or older. The report highlighted how easy it is for younger users to enter false ages, and recommended that platforms explore improving methods to identify and prevent harm to children.

The report also noted the contrast between the multi-layered checks implemented by platforms like OnlyFans, which uses facial age estimation, ID verification, and other systems to ensure users are adults.

Regarding Twitch, Ofcom flagged concerns about its open-access content and how content warnings could be dismissed. While TikTok and Snap had parental controls, Twitch required real-time parental supervision as per its terms and conditions.

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment