FTC Says Apple, Google Removed Three Dating Apps From Their App Stores Because They Allowed Minors to Sign Up

FTC Says Apple, Google Removed Three Dating Apps From Their App Stores Because They Allowed Minors to Sign Up

A trio of dating apps all maintained by the same company have been removed from Apple’s and Google’s app stores. According to the Federal Trade Commission, these apps let minors sign up.

According to a report from CNBC on Monday, the FTC has warned a company based out of the Ukraine called Wildec that its apps violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This act makes it mandatory that services gain the consent of parents of minors before collecting data of those 13 years and younger.

The apps in question are Meet24, Meet4U, and FastMeet:

“The apps — Meet24, FastMeet and Meet4U — are operated by Wildec, a company based in the Ukraine, the FTC said. According to the press release, the FTC warned Wildec that the apps appeared to violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires companies to obtain parental consent before collecting or using personal information from a child under 13 years old, and the FTC Act, “which prohibits unfair practices that are likely to cause substantial consumer injury.””

The privacy policy for all of these apps stated that the user needed to be at least 13 years old. However, there were apparently no blocks in place to prevent users who indicated they were younger from using the app. That made it possible for anyone on the apps, regardless of age, to potentially contact minors using the app.

The FTC has also issued a statement on the matter, warning parents of the apps:

“Parents be warned: some dating apps – like FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U – allow adults to find and communicate with children. Concerned parents should remove these apps if they’re on children’s devices. You also can set your kids’ devices so they must get parental approval before purchasing any new apps. Here are a few more things you should know.

FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U let children create public dating profiles. So, adults can use these apps to connect with children. If that’s not scary enough, the apps collect users’ real-time location data. In other words, adults – including sexual predators – can search by age and location to identify children nearby.”

After the public notice by the FTC, both Apple and Google removed the offending apps from their individual app stores. For parents, it’s good to be aware of the app names, just in case they do pop up. It’s also possible that these apps reappear in the app stores after they’ve been updated, hopefully with the necessary changes to prevent minors from using them.

[via CNBC; FTC]

via iPhone Hacks http://www.iphonehacks.com/2019/05/apple-google-ftc-dating-apps-removal.html
link : http://www.iphonehacks.com/2019/05/apple-google-ftc-dating-apps-removal.html
May 6, 2019 at 11:39PM

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