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Bipartisan lawmakers call for swift DOJ action on TikTok complaint

On March 14, 2024, an FTC investigation revealed potential breaches by TikTok of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), prompting bipartisan members of Congress to request the Department of Justice (DOJ) to swiftly address the complaint.

Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) alongside Representatives Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) emphasized the urgency in a letter sent Tuesday, citing past violations by TikTok and the overarching importance of safeguarding children's online privacy.

The legislators urged the DOJ to "expeditiously investigate these allegations and take all necessary action," underscoring the platform's history with COPPA infractions. TikTok has contested the FTC's charges, arguing that the allegations, mostly pertaining to past incidents, were either factually incorrect or have since been resolved.

A spokesperson stated in June, "We are proud of our efforts to protect children and are committed to further enhancing our platform."

The FTC's decision to refer the matter to the DOJ was described as being in the "public interest," following a compliance review of TikTok's practices since its 2019 settlement regarding previous COPPA violations.

Meanwhile, the issue of children's online safety continues to garner bipartisan support, with the same group of lawmakers pushing for an enhanced COPPA 2.0 to bolster protections.

Despite this momentum, Congress has not yet scheduled votes on relevant bills concerning children's online safety in either legislative chamber.


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