Italy's regulator asks TikTok for further action on users aged under 13

FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's data protection regulator said on Wednesday it had asked video-sharing app TikTok to strengthen measures to prevent young users from accessing the platform after the group has already removed more than 500,000 users under the age of 13 in almost three months.

Early in February TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, agreed with Italian authorities to block all users who gave their age as under 13, among other measures, after the death of a 10-year-old girl was blamed on a breath-holding social media challenge.

"The measures adopted have brought significant, but not yet sufficient, results," the regulator said in a statement.

The watchdog requested TikTok to cancel any accounts linked to under-13 users within 48 hours, make access by young users harder and launch communications initiatives explaining that the platform is not indicated for children under the age of 13.

It also asked the app to find solutions, including ones using artificial intelligence, that would minimise the risk of having youths under 13 entering and using TikTok's platform.

Since February then TikTok has asked more than 12.5 million users in Italy to confirm their age, the authority said, without explaining.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Cristina Carlevaro, editing by Giulia Segreti and David Evans)

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