AG Ferguson: Tech companies to pay $100,000 for violating children's online privacy
Ferguson’s investigation found the companies’ social media platform, “We Heart It,” allowed children to create accounts, collected their personal information and allowed third-party advertisers to collect data from them, all without legally required parental consent.
Under a legally enforceable consent decree filed in Thurston County Superior Court, Super Basic and Maple Media will pay $100,000, with an additional $400,000 suspended contingent upon the companies’ compliance with the order.
We Heart It has approximately 500,000 monthly active users in the United States.
We Heart It did not collect data on the geographic location or age of its users, so exact numbers of Washingtonians or minor users impacted is not available.
Under the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), platforms that are directed toward children may not collect personal information from them without first obtaining parental consent.
Ferguson asserts that the companies’ conduct violated COPPA, and is also an unfair or deceptive business practice under the state Consumer Protection Act.
“Parents have the legal right to know who has their children’s personal information so they can protect them,” Ferguson said.
“My office will continue to serve as a watchdog for Washingtonians’ online privacy rights.” ■