TikTok penalized for failing to properly localize terms and conditions in Dutch

TikTok, the short-form video app that has seen a dramatic, if not entirely uncontroversial, rise in popularity since its release in 2016, was hit with a €750,000 fine by Dutch authorities on Thursday, July 22, for not having its full privacy terms and conditions in Dutch, according to Euronews. The fine comes after the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch Data Protection Authority, or DPA) began an investigation in May of 2020 over whether the app sufficiently protected the privacy of children under Dutch law and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Dutch legislation surrounding data privacy is based on the principle that information must be provided in such a way that people are “given a clear idea of what is being done with their personal data,” per a statement released by the DPA (statement is in Dutch). If such information is not provided in the national, common, or official language of a region, and instead only in English, one cannot expect the average user — especially a minor — to have a clear idea of the content of the communication.

This isn’t the first time the widely used app has found itself in hot water in the EU. In February of 2021, the European Consumer Organization (Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs, or BEUC) issued a press release claiming that the app breached several EU consumer rights regulations and failed to safeguard children appropriately.

In the same month, Italy announced it would require all TikTok users to verify their age and block users who cannot prove they are over 13 years old.

Michael Reid
Michael Reid, Managing Editor at MultiLingual, is an educator, translator, and language, culture, and diversity consultant who lives in Athens, Greece, with over 20 years of experience. He speaks six languages fluently and another seven to basic competence. He also speaks just enough Klingon to negotiate safe passage through the Neutral Zone.


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