A $184 million fine might be imposed on Snapchat for allegedly mistreating underage users


Nowadays, managing and protecting underage users from harmful content on social media platforms is a big headache for tech companies. In a new development, it appears that Snapchat has run into trouble with the UK’s regulatory agency for data protection, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The company is suspected of mismanaging and taking insufficient steps to ban underage users from its site.

With reference to Snapchat’s report from March 2023, the company removed a handful of users under the age of 13. Such a measure from the company is appreciable. On the other hand, a report from the UK media regulator Ofcom indicates that the platform has thousands of users who are underage. This raises concerns about the platform’s capability to handle children responsibly and also highlights the need for parental consent, which is mandated by UK data protection regulations when processing the personal information of children under the age of 13.

Childline is receiving complaints from Snapchat users as young as 11 and 12 about sending and conversing with adults online. Richard Collard, associate head of child safety online for the NSPCC, said, It is critical that we see stronger action to ensure that young children are not utilizing the site and older children are being kept safe from danger.

ICO is collecting the information

The ICO has begun collecting the relevant information before initiating the investigation. It is reported that the ICO will issue formal requests or information notices that will help them acquire internal data. If Snapchat is found guilty, the company could be fined 4% of its international yearly turnover. It amounts to around $184 million, in accordance with Snapchat’s current financial reports.

In addition to this, the company itself has not issued any official statements. A spokesperson from the company stated that the company will improve its strategies for making Snapchat an age-appropriate platform for underage users. Furthermore, the spokesperson highlighted that the company asserts that it will abide by the regulations mentioned in the Children’s Code. He emphasized the continued fruitful discussions with the ICO to jointly resolve these concerns.

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