Former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield is preparing a lawsuit against TikTok over how the streaming platform collects and uses the data of their under-aged users.
The legal challenge is initiated on behalf of the children in the EU and UK who have used the app since 25 May 2018. There certainly are a lot of them. According to Airnow, TikTok has 6 million monthly active users in the UK as of May 2020, almost half of which are children between the ages of eight and 12.
Lawyers look to charge TikTok for collecting personal information from children such as videos, phone numbers, biometric data and their exact location without adequate warning and without their parents knowing where the information ends up.
TikTok said that the case is without merit, and they plan to fight the legal action. The company further stated that privacy and safety are their top priorities, especially regarding Gen Zers, who are their biggest users.
However, this is not the first case to involve the video-sharing app and the mishandling of children’s data. Back in 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined the company for a whopping $5.7 million, while the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has investigated the firm in the past.
The case against TikTok was brought forth by an anonymous 12-year-old girl last year, however, Ms Longfield was unwilling to pursue it until another case on data collection had been resolved.
The case in question refers to the lawsuit of Which? Director Richard Lloyd against Google on behalf of four million iPhone users who said they were being illegally tracked by the tech company.
Data collection on social media seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. Earlier this month, the personal data of 11 million Facebook users in the UK was leaked, causing major privacy and safety concerns across the nation.
If the case against TikTok goes forward and is successful, the affected children could end up getting thousands of pounds in damages.