The age check is activated for all Italian TikTok users

The age check is activated for all Italian TikTok users

On February 9, all profiles will be blocked and will have to confirm their age. The measure responds to the requests of the Privacy Guarantor to check the presence of under 13 subscribers to the app

TikTok (AFP / Getty Images) TikTok takes action to block the registration of under 13s on the social network. The platform owned by the Chinese Bytedance adapts to the requests of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, which in recent days had ordered the blocking of the video sharing service. In the communication to the Guarantor, TikTok explains that it wants to take measures to stop users under 13 at the entrance, introduce artificial intelligence systems for age verification and launch an information campaign to raise awareness among parents and children. For this reason, on 9 February all Italian users will be blocked and will have to indicate the date of birth again before continuing to use the app. If an under 13 is identified, his profile will be removed.

The maneuver of the Guarantor, which arrived after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Palermo who had a profile on the platform, follows an already open provision previously and on a completely different basis but which highlighted the same problem: too easy for the little ones to circumvent age constraints to enroll. On that occasion, the platform responded by imposing stricter rules for minors. For the Guarantor, however, those measures were not enough and in January he returned to the issue, prohibiting TikTok from processing the personal data of users whose age it is unable to verify. The thesis is that in the absence of a verification, the platform cannot exclude a priori the fact that even children under 13 can use its service, as also explained to Wired by one of the members of the board of the authority and supervisor of the provision, Guido Scorza.

The answer from TikTok

The new package of app countermeasures is now coming. From 9 February, therefore, the first round of checks to verify the ages and expel the under 13s. Subsequently, the company undertook to further evaluate the use of artificial intelligence systems. "Since the identification of such solutions requires a balance between the need for accurate verifications and the right to data protection of minors, the company has undertaken to start with the Privacy Authority of Ireland - the country in which the platform has established its main plant - a discussion on the use of artificial intelligence for the purposes of "age verification" ", reads the note from the Guarantor.

Since January 25, Tik Tok has also added a button that allows users to report subscribers who appear to be under 13. And the app promises to double the number of Italian-speaking moderators.

An information campaign

In addition, from 4 February the platform will launch an information campaign. On the app, explains the note from the Guarantor, "the company will send push notifications to users before blocking them, and will inform them about the age requirement. Banners will also be posted to provide links with information on security tools and how to change profile settings from "public" to "private" ". Announcements aimed at parents will be posted on the web and in print to confirm the age limit for registering on the platform. The privacy policy will be summarized and rewritten in a simpler and more accessible language for those under 18.

The Guarantor for its part promises to monitor these commitments and their effectiveness. In addition, he announced that on the national broadcasters he will launch "in collaboration with Telefono Azzurro, an awareness campaign with the aim of calling parents to play an active supervisory role and to pay particular attention to the moment in which children will be asked to indicate the their age to access TikTok ".

" The safety of the people who are part of the TikTok community is our top priority. We have reached an agreement with the Guarantor, the Italian data protection authority, and today we are taking further measures to support our community in Italy ", commented Alexandra Evans, head of Child Safety, TikTok - Europe:" When talks about protecting our users, especially younger ones, there is no final goal and, as a result, our work in this area will not stop. This is why we continue to invest in people, processes and technologies that help keep our community a safe space for positive and creative expression. "

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