TikTok is facing the ire of the U.K. and EU for allegedly harvesting data of over 3.5 million children under 13 years old. Former children's commissioner for England Anne Longfield is backing up the lawsuit which was filed on behalf of millions of children in Europe against the Chinese social media application.

Longfield said in a press release that TikTok is taking children's personal information, “including phone numbers, videos, exact location, and biometric data, without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary consent required by law.”

Oppositions believed that the app has illegally collected the personal data of children, especially when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in place. If the app is found guilty, each child should be paid thousands of pounds for the damage.

Longfield said that among the social media platforms that collect information, TikTok had "excessive" data collection policies that deceived parents. She further added that parents have the right to know what and how information is collected and used under the app’s devious collection methods.

According to the media regulation board of U.K., Ofcom, 44% of children under 13 years old use TikTok. The social media app was previously ordered to set an age verification mode in the system.

Lawyers believed that the data collected by TikTok on children is a breach of data protection law. Tom Southwell, a partner at the law firm Scott + Scott, said, “The information collected by TikTok represents a severe breach of UK and EU data protection law.”

He added that children do not understand how exposed they are when they use the app, and parents have been deliberately left in the dark by TikTok.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the social media app commented, "Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes, and technologies in place to help protect all users and our teenage users in particular. We believe the claims lack merit and intend to vigorously defend the action."

The app, created by Chinese tech firm Bytedance, is one of the most popular on the market, offering users a mix of short video clips. The firm has previously been accused of sketchy privacy-gathering methods in 2019 and is slapped with a hefty $5.7 million fine.

TikTok HQ
The logo of Chinese video app TikTok is seen on the side of the company's new office space at the C3 campus on August 11, 2020 in Culver City, in the westside of Los Angeles. Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

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