Google and Apple have removed three dating apps from their respective app stores after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned that children were allowed to use them.
In a warning letter to the app developers, the FTC alleged that dating apps Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U allowed children as young as 12 years old to sign up for their services. The apps are from Ukraine-based Wildec LLC and allegedly collected users’ birthdates, email addresses, photographs, and real-time location data.
Even though the three apps’ privacy policies supposedly prohibited sign-ups for those under the age of 13, the apps didn’t actively block those who indicated they were under 13. Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U also allegedly didn’t block others from contacting those who indicated they were under 13 during the sign-up process.
Compounding matters, several individuals reportedly faced criminal charges for using the apps to contact or attempt to contact minors.
According to the FTC, Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U might violate the FTC’s COPPA Rule. The rule requires companies that collect personal information from those under 13 to notify parents of the data gathering and to clearly post privacy policies.
The FTC also believes the three apps violate the agency’s FTC Act, which prohibits unfair practices that could cause consumer injury.
Wildec’s three dating apps are no longer available on the Google Play Store and App Store, according to an FTC press release. The commission raised the possibility that updated versions of the three apps could show up in the future, but “only for adults.”
Android Authority reached out to Google and Apple regarding the app removals, but didn’t hear back from either company by press time.
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