TikTok parent ByteDance has agreed to settle a class action suit for $92 million. The popular short-form video app allows users to take 15-second or one minute videos (by stringing together four 15-second clips). Popular with teens, content usually includes pranks, lip syncing, dancing, and more. According to the lawsuit, TikTok “infiltrates its users’ devices and extracts a broad array of private data including biometric data and content that defendants use to track and profile TikTok users for the purpose of, among other things, ad targeting and profit.” In other words, the court documents accuse ByteDance of using TikTok to collect user data from its teenage users.
TikTok parent ByteDance settles class action suit for $92 million
The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that by collecting personal data, ByteDance was able to collect biometric data allowing it to deliver more precisely targeted ads and content recommendations. In the state of Illinois, collecting this data without consent could expose ByteDance to serious punishment. As an example, last year Facebook settled a case under the same Illinois’ biometric privacy law for $650 million. The plaintiffs also charged ByteDance with storing personal data in China which might have allowed the Communist Chinese government to view it.
Globally, an estimated 1.1 billion people use TikTok each month. Sensor Tower states that the number of downloads of the TikTok app world wide is 2.6 billion. Last month, the app generated 62 million installs globally; just a year earlier, TikTok set a record for an app during a quarter with 315 million downloads. Allegedly, the app has been paying influencers $500 to open an account.
With a new administration in place, things look rosier for TikTok in the states even though President Biden has not commented on whether he will continue to treat Chinese tech firms as national security threats.
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