TikTok reaches $92 million settlement over nationwide privacy lawsuit

February 25, 2021
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TikTok has agreed to pay $92 million to settle a class action lawsuit over alleged privacy violations, which included claims that the app collected “highly sensitive personal data” to track users and target ads to them. TikTok rejected the allegations but said it didn’t want to spend time litigating the issue.

“While we disagree with the assertions, rather than go through lengthy litigation, we’d like to focus our efforts on building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community,” a TikTok spokesperson wrote in a statement sent to The Verge.

The settlement combines 21 proposed class action lawsuits against TikTok over an assortment of alleged privacy violations. The lawsuit makes some substantial claims, from allegations that TikTok analyzed users’ faces to determine their ethnicity, gender, and age to supposed violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act over its transmission of private data. Nearly all US users would be included in the settlement.

As part of the settlement, TikTok has agreed to avoid several behaviors that could compromise user privacy unless it specifically discloses those behaviors in its privacy policy. Those behaviors include storing biometric information, collecting GPS or clipboard data, and sending or storing US users’ data outside the country.

TikTok did not respond to a request for comment on whether it currently engages in any of these behaviors or would be changing its privacy policy as a result of this agreement.

The settlement is just one of many that TikTok has made to set aside privacy concerns. The company settled a lawsuit over alleged children’s privacy allegations in 2019, and the same year, it paid $5.7 million to the Federal Trade Commission over accusations that its predecessor, Musical.ly, failed to gain parental approval for young users.



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