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TikTok to Pay $92 Million Over Alleged Privacy Violations

The platform allegedly used scummy data collection practices for both tracking and commercially for ad-targeting.


TikTok will pay $92 million in the U.S to settle a nationwide class-action suit alleging that the company violated several federal cybersecurity and privacy laws. The alleged violations include collecting user data without their consent by using scummy tactics not just by TikTok but by its predecessor, Musical.ly, as well.

The lawsuit claimed the platform used scummy data collection practices for both tracking and commercially for ad-targeting.

The nation-wide class action lawsuit encompasses 21 class-action lawsuits filed by users in several US states over the company’s data collection practices that mostly affected minors.

TikTok allegedly used facial recognition technology to gather user biometric data, including gender and ethnicity, by disguising the practice to help keep minors off the app.

TikTok paid over $6 million in 2019 to settle two separate class-action lawsuits over collecting minors’ data.

The other allegation was collecting sensitive user data without permission and selling it to third-parties, some based in China, for financial gain. In the case, lawyers alleged the popular video-sharing app even mined information from draft videos that users never shared publicly.

Mined personal data was being sent to China-based servers or other countries where China-based employees could access the data.

The $92 million settlement, considered one of the biggest privacy-related payouts in history, includes 89 million TikTok users in the US.

Although TikTok denies these allegations, the company went ahead and agreed to provide compensation just to get itself out of trouble.

“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,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

The company agreed to pay the $92 million fine under the circumstances to abide by federal and state privacy laws.

TikTok will only collect data specified in its privacy policy and cease collecting biometric information like facial traits and even tracking user location. Additionally, it will also not share user data overseas and won’t collect data from draft videos.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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