TikTok Owner to Pay $92M in US Privacy Settlement

A class-action lawsuit alleges that the video-sharing app failed to get consent to collect data.

The TikTok icon in New York, Feb. 25, 2020.
The TikTok icon in New York, Feb. 25, 2020.
AP Photo/File

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance has agreed to pay $92 million in a settlement to U.S. users who are part of a class-action lawsuit alleging that the video-sharing app failed to get their consent to collect data in violation of a strict Illinois privacy law.

The federal lawsuit alleged that TikTok broke the Illinois biometric privacy law, which allows suits against companies that harvest consumer data without consent, including via facial and fingerprint scanning. Illinois is the only state with a law that allows people to seek monetary damages for such unauthorized data collection.

“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,” TikTok said in an emailed statement.

Facebook agreed to a $550 million settlement under the same law last February. The TikTok settlement must still be approved by a federal judge.

Privacy advocates have praised the law as the nation’s strongest form of protection in the commercial use of such data, and it has survived ongoing efforts by the tech industry and other businesses to weaken it.

Illinois is one of three states that have laws governing the use of biometric data. But the other two, Texas and Washington, don’t permit individual lawsuits, instead delegating enforcement to their attorneys general.

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