Wednesday Feb 03, 2021
MILAN: Video app TikTok said Wednesday it has agreed with Italian authorities to block all users aged 13 or less.
The development comes after a 10-year-old girl lost her life while partaking in a breath-holding social media challenge, one which went viral on the video-sharing platform.
Prosecutors in Palermo are investigating the case, which has led to increased scrutiny of children’s use of social media platforms.
TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, first gained popularity in Asia before gaining a big following in the West. The app became immensely popular among teenagers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Italian regulator said TikTok has agreed to block all underage accounts in Italy from February 9 and to readmit only those users who would provide documents showing their date of birth.
Alexandra Evans, Tiktok’s head of child safety in Europe, said it would also introduce a button into the app to enable members to report users who appear to be under 13.
The regulator said TikTok has also agreed to evaluate the use of artificial intelligence to detect underage accounts.
It will, however, have to discuss the proposal with the Irish privacy authority, which is the European Union’s lead data protection authority for Tik Tok because the firm has its European head office in Ireland.