Following a lawsuit, TikTok has agreed to pay out $92 million in settlements to American users. The class-action lawsuits accuse the platform of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as privacy laws in both California and Illinois.
In total, there were 21 lawsuits involving 89 million users in the US, some of which were children as young as six. They claim that TikTok collected its users’ “highly sensitive personal data” without their consent or knowledge before selling it to advertisers.
The lawsuit says that TikTok has violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act over its transmission of personal data. Additionally, the company is accused of compromising people’s privacy in its use of facial recognition.
It’s claimed that it was analyzing users’ faces and using this information to categorize users by age, gender, and ethnicity for advertising and tracking purposes.
The settlement, which would include nearly all U.S. users, is being described as one of the “largest privacy-related payouts in history.”
According to Ekwan Rhow, a co-lead counsel for the lawsuit, “This is one of the largest settlements ever achieved in a consumer BIPA case, and one of the largest privacy class action settlements. It serves as a reminder to corporations that privacy matters and they will be held accountable for violating consumers’ rights.”
TikTok has denied the allegations. But, it has chosen to settle the case anyway rather than spending extensive time on litigation proceedings.
A spokesperson said, “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.”
The company has also chosen to stop some of its behaviors that could compromise users’ privacy in the future. For example, it will no longer store or track biometric data and will no longer send any information outside the US.