Social network TikTok was fined £12.7 million ($15.9 million) by the UK data watchdog for failing to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13, it was reported today.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigation, up to 1.4 million underage children were shown to have used its platform in 2020, despite its own rules not allowing children of that age to generate an account.

The UK Data Protection Act states that organizations using personal data when offering information society services to children under 13 must have the consent of their parents or guardians.

It also failed to present adequate information to individuals using the platform about how their data is collected, used and shared in a way that is easy to understand, local media reported.

Without such information, it is unlikely that users of the platform, particularly children, would be able to make informed decisions about whether and how to engage with it.

In addition, there was no guarantee that personal data belonging to its U.K. users was processed in a lawful, fair and transparent manner.

“There are laws in place to ensure that our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok failed to comply with those laws. As a result, approximately one million children under the age of 13 were granted inappropriate access to the platform, and ????TikTok collected and used their personal data,” watchdog head John Edwards said in a statement.

He explained that means their data may have been used to track and profile them, which could generate harmful and inappropriate content on their next commute.

“TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7 million fine reflects the serious impact their failings may have had,” he said.

The ICO investigation also found that internal concerns were raised with some senior employees about children under the age of 13 using the platform and not being removed, but TikTok failed to respond appropriately.

The UK even banned its civil servants from using TikTok on their professional phones last month.

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