TikTok to pay $92m to settle alleged misuse of data case

TikTok has agreed to pay $92m (£66m) to settle an American lawsuit that accuses the company of misusing artificial intelligence to track and store data about its users.

It’s eluded that TikTok illegally used software to track facial features in its users’ videos and used this traced recognition data to identify age, gender and ethnicity. The accusers also alleged that this illegally collected data was sent to recipients based in China.

Although denying any wrong doing, TikTok has agreed to make an out of court settlement of $92m, which roughly converts to £66m.

The case against TikTok alleged that the collected facial-recognition data was being used to track and profile users for targeted ad marketing.

TikTok said in a statement: “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.”

If the settlement is agreed upon by a federal judge in America, the money will be divided up among US-based TikTok users.

It has also been agreed that TikTok will state in its privacy policy whether its apps collect users biometric information or GPS data, in addition to whether it stores or transmits user data to outside of America.

Ray Walsh is a digital-privacy expert, and he said; “That TikTok has opted to pay such a massive settlement in this privacy case suggests it knows it would not win.

“It is obvious that TikTok has the money to fight the case and yet it is choosing to pay a huge sum in order to make the case go away. The app’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, obviously feels it is better off cutting its losses… than gaining more bad press further down the line.”

In 2019, ByteDance faced similar accusations and also settled outside of court in a case that accused the company of violating the privacy of its young users.

The owners of TikTok have continued to strongly deny that it has sent any US data to China, which was an allegation from the former Trump administration when it attempted to ban TikTok in the US due to security concerns.

H/T: BBC News


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