SEOUL, July 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s telecommunications regulator said Wednesday it fined video sharing platform TikTok Pte Ltd. 186 million won (US$155,000) for mishandling user data amid growing global privacy concerns of the social media service.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said the social media app popular among teenagers violated local telecommunication laws by collecting data of children under the age of 14 without parental consent, and did not properly notify users of its overseas transfer of personal data.
TikTok illegally collected 6,000 pieces of data of users younger than 14, while local user data were transferred to its servers in the United States and Singapore without prior notification, according to the KCC.
The regulator has investigated TikTok since October last year after the United States fined the company US$5.7 million in February that year for illegally collecting children’s data.
The regulator’s move is the latest blow to the Chinese-owned global social media platform.
U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month that a ban on TikTok is being considered over privacy issues, while India decided to ban the app late last month amid diplomatic tension with China after deadly border clashes.
The app had 3.4 million users in South Korea in December last year, according to industry tracker WiseApp.
The platform has gained a huge following among teenagers since it launched in 2017 in the country, being used by many K-pop groups and artists.
TikTok had been downloaded over 2 billion times globally as of the first quarter of this year, according to industry tracker Sensor Tower.