TikTok owner ByteDance to pay US privacy settlement

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ByteDance said last year that TikTok had 700 million users globally

TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance has agreed to pay 92 million dollars (£65.72 million) in a settlement to US users who are part of a class-action lawsuit alleging the video-sharing app failed to gain their consent to collect data in violation of a strict Illinois privacy law.

The federal lawsuit alleged 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 unauthorised 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 dollar (£392 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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