TikTok agrees to settle $92 million class-action lawsuit | News | DW

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has agreed to pay $ 92 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging an invasion of the privacy of its users.

A lawsuit filed in the Illinois District Court on Friday asked the judge to agree to the settlement. This also means that TikTok is more open about the data it collects from users and trains its employees about user privacy.

The China-based company, which owns TikTok, a short video sharing app, agreed to reach an agreement after more than a year of litigation.

“While we disagree with the allegations instead of engaging in lengthy litigation, we want to focus our efforts on creating a safe and fun experience for the TikTok community,” TikTok said in a statement emailed Thursday.

The deal was reached after “an expert-led look at the TikTok source code” and extensive mediation efforts in accordance with the request for approval of the deal.

Illinois is the only state in the United States where individuals can seek monetary damages for such authorized data collection.

What were the allegations?

“The TikTok app infiltrates its users’ devices and extracts a wide range of private data, including biometrics and content, that are used by defendants to track and profile TikTok users for purposes such as promoting ad targeting and profitability,” said the Illinois attorneys filing.

The lawsuit alleged that TikTok violated the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, which allows lawsuits against companies that retrieve consumer information without consent, including by scanning faces and fingerprints.

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Lawyers also accused TikTok of storing or sending data to China, where ByteDance is headquartered.

TikTok has denied any misuse of data and has insisted that the data remain on users’ devices and that only anonymous tags be used to identify faces, the company said in legal filings.

US government pressure

Lawyers told the judge that ByteDance had been motivated to settle down due to pressure from US officials to sell TikTok.

US President Joe Biden has given up his predecessor’s plans to sell TikTok to US giant Oracle. Trump had accused TikTok and other Chinese apps of posing a national security risk due to its alleged connections to the Beijing government. His executive action banning TikTok downloads has encountered legal challenges.

TikTok defended itself against these allegations and stored user information on servers in the US and Singapore.

The video sharing app is very popular in the US, with an estimated 100 million users in the country.

Lawyers estimated the comparison would apply to TikTok users in the United States. Most of them would be entitled to payouts of 96 cents each if they made all claims for settlement money, a file said.

adi / sms (AFP, Reuters)

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