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TikTok to pay $92 million in settlement over privacy lawsuit

TikTok to pay $92 million in settlement over privacy lawsuit
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TikTok has agreed to pay $92 million in a proposed settlement for a lawsuit over allegations that the platform wrongfully collected users' biometric information and private data. 

TikTok rejected the assertions in the suit, but a spokesperson said the company decided settling was in its best interest.

 

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"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," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Lawyers for TikTok users who brought the case said the settlement is one of the largest privacy-related payouts. The settlement awaits final approval by a judge. 

In addition to the compensation, the settlement calls for TikTok to initiate a new privacy compliance training program and take other steps to protect users’ privacy. 

“This settlement is important for many reasons. First, it provides compensation for TikTok users, but equally as important, it ensures TikTok will respect its users’ privacy going forward,” one of the lawyers, Katrina Carroll, said in a statement. “Social media seems so innocuous, but troubling data collection, storage, and disclosure can happen behind the scenes. This settlement sets out to prevent that.”

The legal battle had been ongoing for more than a year. Twenty-one class actions against TikTok were combined into one multi-district action in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois. 

The complaint alleged TikTok violated privacy laws in Illinois and California, as well as the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

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Lawyers representing the users alleged TikTok “clandestinely vacuumed up” private and personally identifiable data that could be used to identify and track  the location of users, and that the app transferred the data to servers in China, according to court documents reported by NPR. 

TikTok faced scrutiny from the Trump administration over allegations that the app posed a threat to national security. TikTok has denied the allegations. 

A proposed deal forcing ByteDance to sell TikTok was never finished before former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE left office. 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House sends mixed message on higher taxes The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Biden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts MORE said earlier this month that the deal is still under review by the Biden administration as risks to U.S. data are evaluated.

—Updated at 1:39 p.m.