Data Security

TikTok asks kids to send money in exchange for influencers’ phone numbers

The creators of TikTok, a video-sharing social media platform, have been accused of ‘exploiting’ their youngest fans, demanding money in exchange for access to excusive benefits, information security services experts reported.

This platform allows fans to send ‘digital
gifts’ to their favorite content
creators
; these gifts can cost up to $50. Reports claim that some
TikTok influencers promised users to share their personal phone numbers when
purchasing one of these digital gifts.

Upon receiving the reports, TikTok assured its
users that it would implement some measures to prevent this from happening
again, although it did not specify what policy changes the platform would make.
A platform user, who due to her age will remain anonymous, claims that she
spent more than $100 USD to get the phone number of her favorite TikTok content
creator. “I tried to call him many times, but he never answered the phone”,
she says.

Recounting her case for information security
services experts, the user, just 12 years old, lives in the north of England,
from where she sent digital gifts to the content creator known as Sebastian Moy.  Based in the United States, Moy has more than
3.8 million fans on TikTok and, it has been confirmed, has not breached any of
the policies set by the creators of this app.

Some media and members of the cybersecurity
community have tried to contact Moy, although the content creator has not
responded to requests.

The developers of TikTok claim that the app is
mainly popular among young people between the ages of 16 and 20. In previous
times they have already been fined up to $4.5M USD for collecting information
from children under the age of 13. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office
(ICO) is also investigating the company.

According to information security services
specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) content
creators in TikTok who have more than a thousand followers are enabled to
perform live broadcasts from where they can ask their fans for these digital
gifts. In exchange, content creators give fans access to participation in their
videos, live shout outs, among other benefits. Although the platform has never
revealed what percentage it takes from the streamers’ profits, some creators
claim that TikTok takes 50% of their earnings.

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