Google and Apple have just pulled out three dating apps from their respective stores. The apps didn’t block kids under 13 from signing up on their platform and could potentially be used by sexual predators to find children.
The three dating apps FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U, all made by Wildec, a Ukrainian company, appeared to violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act.
As the FTC said in a press release that these dating apps have been removed from App Store and Play Store because the apps appeared to violate the children online privacy protection law. The law requires companies to get parental consent before collecting or using personal information from a child under 13 years old. Meanwhile, the FTC Act prohibits unfair practices that are likely to cause substantial consumer injury.
Previously, in a letter sent to Wildec, FTC argued that the apps did not prevent users who say they are under 13 from using the apps or being visible to other users. FTC staff while testing Meet24’s search function were easily able to find users near their location who were only 12 years old. This clearly signals that these apps were used by under 13 children without any parental control and hence they would have helped in child sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, FTC has further ensured that if these dating apps comply with FTC’s policies, “it’s possible that updated versions of these apps could appear in the future – but only for adults.”