ByteDance has reportedly settled children’s data lawsuit

News Technology

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance has reportedly reached a settlement on Wednesday with a group of parents who alleged that the company collected and exposed the data and personal information of minors, in violation of the children’s privacy law.

The plaintiff’s lawyer in the case, Gary Klinger, confirmed that a proposed settlement of $1.1 million had been reached.

In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said that the company disputed many of the complaint’s claims, but had reached a resolution.

A TikTok spokesperson said: “TikTok is firmly committed to safeguarding the data of its users, especially our younger users. Although we disagree with much of what is alleged in the complaint, we have been working with the parties involved and are pleased to have come to a resolution of the issues.”

TikTok also declined to give details of the settlement.

The plaintiff’s complaint alleges that the Musical.ly app (now known as TikTok) failed to provide the proper safeguards to prevent children from using the app. If a minor under the age of 13 created an account, the app requested that they fill in personally identifying information like their name, phone number, email address, photo, and bio. That information would be publicly available for other users to see.

The complaint also alleges that the app collected the location data of its users, including minors, for close to a year between December 2015 and October 2016.

This alleged collection would be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The law forbids social media companies like Facebook and TikTok from collecting the data of children under 13 years of age without the express consent of their parents or guardians.

Earlier this year, the FTC reached a $5.7 million settlement with TikTok over COPPA violations. The FTC made allegations similar to what Klinger’s clients had earlier this week.

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