TikTok was sued by Anne Longfield, the former UK Commissioner for Children, who said the app collects and uses data from children in a way that is legally dubious – BBC reports.
The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of millions of children in UK and EU who enjoy using this hugely popular video sharing app. If the court finds the grievance justified, affected children can receive up to thousands of pounds in damages from Beijing-based ByteDance, which runs TikTok.According to attorneys representing the Public Prosecution Office, TikTok requested and used personal data, phone numbers, exact locations, and biometric data for children without informing users in advance and seeking their consent as required by law. Consequently, neither children nor parents know exactly what to use this sensitive information for.
The video sharing app operator responded to the allegations through a representative:
Data protection and security is a top priority for TikTok, and reliable policies, processes and technologies are in place to help protect all users, especially teenage users. We believe the allegations are baseless. “With more than 800 million users worldwide, the ByteDance operator generated billions of dollars in revenue last year, the vast majority of which came from ads.
The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all children who have been using TikTok since May 25, 2018, regardless of their privacy settings and whether they have created an account with the app.
The former commissioner explained to children that he is aware that all social media platforms collect and use information, but TikTok does so excessively.
TikTok is a very popular social media platform that has helped children connect with their friends during a very difficult year. But there is something much more dangerous behind the fun songs, the challenges of dancing. “
He claims that the company intentionally misled users and their parents by collecting data.
He added that stakeholders “have a right to know” what private information they collect through TikTok’s “shadow data collection practices”.
The case is represented by the Scott and Scott law firm, accordingly The information TikTok collected “constitutes a serious breach of data protection law in the UK and the European Union”.TikTok and ByteDance advertising revenue is based on users’ personal information, including children. They argue that it is unacceptable to make use of this information without fulfilling its legal obligations, as the company has an ethical obligation to protect children online.
In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Byte Dance of $ 5.7 million for improper handling of children’s data.
The company previously revealed that it has consciously stored content posted by users under the age of 13 through Musical.ly.
TikTok was instructed to delete data and set up an age verification system.