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Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A coalition of children's advocacy groups accused video-sharing platform TikTok of violating children's privacy and called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate in a complaint Thursday.

Why it matters: TikTok is facing heat from Washington over concerns about how well it's protecting kids who use its wildly popular app — and it paid $5.7 million last year to settle an FTC investigation alleging that a predecessor app illegally obtained children's personal information.

Details: The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy and others argue TikTok has not lived up to the terms of last year's FTC settlement and continues to violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by:

  • Failing to destroy personal information of users under 13 years old that was collected prior to the 2019 settlement.
  • Not giving proper notice to parents or obtaining their consent before collecting kids' personal information.
  • Not allowing parents to review or delete their children's personal information.

The other side: TikTok is working to alert lawmakers to its recent efforts to address a variety of concerns that have been raised on Capitol Hill, confirming to Axios that it circulated a packet among House and Senate offices this week describing its U.S. presence, its privacy policies and its work on child safety.

  • The company announced plans last month to give parents' greater control over how their teens use the app, and turned off direct messages for users under 16.
  • “We take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users," a TikTok spokesperson said in response to the complaint.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Aug 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Setting the odds on a TikTok deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The TikTok shot clock is down to just 25 days, by which time it either has a deal for its U.S. business or has a presidential shutdown notice pinned to its back.

The state of play: Everyone is taking this timeline very seriously. It's possible that President Trump would give an extension, or find another rhetorical wriggle to save millennial face, but those close to the situation say it's a risk they have no intention of taking.

Zuckerberg testified before FTC during antitrust probe into Facebook

Photo: Tobias Hase/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified during a Federal Trade Commission hearing this week as part of the agency's antitrust investigation into the social media company, Politico reports.

Why it matters via Axios' Ashley Gold: The FTC deposing Zuckerberg is not a surprising move in an antitrust case that may result in a lawsuit. It also gives the agency some cover after being criticized for not having Zuckerberg testify in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal case.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.