TikTok has agreed to pay $92 million to settle lawsuits claiming that it collected users’ personal data without their knowledge or permission, and then sold that data to advertisers.
NPR reports that the proposed settlement includes 89 million U.S. users, some as young as six years old. The settlement combines 21 privacy-centered class action lawsuits against TikTok.
TikTok was accused in the suits of violating users’ privacy in several ways, including by analyzing their faces to determine their ethnicity, gender, and age. The company was also accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as privacy laws in Illinois and California.
The settlement, which would include nearly all U.S. users, is being described as one of the “largest privacy-related payouts in history.”
TikTok denies allegations
In a statement to various media outlets, TikTok said it disagreed with the allegations but has decided to settle the case anyway.
"We'd like to focus our efforts on building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community," a company spokesperson said.
As part of the settlement, TikTok has agreed to stop tracking biometric information and to stop transmitting user data overseas. It’s also agreed to stop collecting data from users’ draft videos.
“This is one of the largest settlements ever achieved in a consumer BIPA case, and one of the largest privacy class action settlements,” Ekwan Rhow, a co-lead counsel for the lawsuit, said in a statement. “It serves as a reminder to corporations that privacy matters, and they will be held accountable for violating consumers’ rights.”
The settlement is still awaiting approval by the court system.