The UK's Information Commissioner\u2019s Office announced today that it has levied a nearly $16 million fine against TikTok for \u201ca number of breaches\u201d of the country\u2019s data protection law.Central to the ICO\u2019s decision to fine TikTok are the estimated 1.4 million UK children under 13 years of age, who were allowed to sign up for the platform in 2020, despite the company\u2019s own rules barring such use.That\u2019s a violation of UK\u2019s General Data Protection Regulation (similar to the EU's GDPR), the ICO said in a statement. The UK GDPR requires that companies that use personal data to offer services to children under 13 need a parent or guardian\u2019s permission to do so. The regulator also noted that \u201csenior employees\u201d at TikTok were aware of underage users on the platform, and did not respond adequately to the issue.\u201cThere are laws in place to make sure our children our as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world,\u201d said UK Information Commissioner John Edwards in the statement. \u201cTikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better.\u201dThe ICO also charged TikTok with failing to offer clear information to users about how their personal information is collected and used, as well as with failing to ensure that user data was processed lawfully.The UK government had originally intended to fine TikTok more than twice as much as today\u2019s $15.8 million. However, today\u2019s ICO statement said that the company\u2019s arguments convinced regulators not to pursue an earlier, provisional finding that it had also used special category data unlawfully, bringing the total fine down from an original figure of $33.7 million.\u201cOur [$15.8 million] fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had,\u201d Edwards stated. \u201cThey did not do enough to check who was using their platform or take sufficient action to remove the underage children that were using their platform.\u201dTikTok said in a statement that it is reviewing the decision. While it disagrees with the UK's action, a spokesperson said that that the company is pleased that regulators reduced the total fine from its original amount."TikTok is a platform for users aged 13 and over," the spokesperson said. "We invest heavily to keep under-13s off the platform."The Chinese-owned social media giant has long been under fire from western regulators for privacy concerns. Several countries \u2014 including the US, UK and Canada \u2014 have banned it from use on government devices, while Australia and New Zealand have similar restrictions pending.