TikTok faces a legal challenge from a former Children’s Commissioner in Anne Longfield, UK, on how to collect and use child data.
The allegations have been filed on behalf of millions of children in the UK and EU using the very popular video sharing app.
If successful, each affected child can be in debt of thousands of pounds.
TikTok said the case had no merit and would fight it.
Lawyers say that TikTok will give your child’s personal information, such as phone numbers, videos, exact locations, and biometric data, without sufficient warning, transparency, or the necessary consent required by law, and by your child or parent. Claim to get the information without knowing what is going on.
In contrast, the video sharing app states: “Privacy and security are TikTok’s top priorities and we have implemented strong policies, processes and technologies to protect all users, especially teenagers. We will actively defend our actions. “.
TikTok has more than 800 million users worldwide, and its parent company, ByteDance, made billions of profits last year, most of it from advertising revenue.
This claim will be initiated on behalf of all children using TikTok after May 25, 2018, regardless of whether they have an account or privacy settings. Children who do not wish to be represented can opt out.
Ms. Longfield told the BBC that while all social media platforms are collecting information, TikTok has an “excessive” data collection policy and is therefore focusing on TikTok.
“TikTok is a very popular social media platform that has helped kids stay in touch with their friends in very difficult years, but behind the trends of fun songs, dance challenges and lip sync. There is something much more sinister. “
She claims that the company is “intentionally and successfully deceiving parents” and “a data collection service that is thinly obscured as a social network.”
She added that these parents have a “right to know” the personal information collected through TikTok’s “shadow data collection practices.”
The case is represented by law firms Scott and Scott. Partner Tom Southwell said he believes the information collected by TikTok represents “a serious breach of UK and EU data protection laws.”
“Advertising revenues from TikTok and ByteDance are based on the personal information of users, including children. It is unacceptable to benefit from this information without fulfilling our legal obligations and the moral obligation to protect our children online. “
This case is not unprecedented.
In 2019, a Chinese company was fined a record $ 5.7 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for mishandling child data.
The company has been fined in South Korea for how it collects data for children and is being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom.
The action revolved around Musical.ly, which was built into TikTok, and deliberately hosted content published by users under the age of 13.
TikTok was instructed to delete the data and set up an age verification system.
According to Ofcom, 44% of UK 8-12 years old use TikTok despite a policy banning under 13s on the platform.
Class action proceedings
A similar proceeding against TikTok was filed last year by an anonymous 12-year-old girl with the support of Ms. Longfield.
At the time, Ms. Longfield said she was waiting to see the results of another proceeding before suing TikTok.
Who brought about the case in question? Director Richard Lloyd replaces 4 million iPhone users who claim to have been illegally tracked by Google.
Despite being launched in 2017, the case has not yet been approved and will soon be heard in the Supreme Court.
“If the Supreme Court dismisses Mr. Lloyd’s ability to raise a claim, a similar proceeding may be difficult to succeed,” said Richard Reedham, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Layer.