Fighting the good fight Nationally
Just Days After Lawsuit Filed, TikTok Settles Claims It Shared Kids’ Data For $1.1M
As reported by Law360, in T.K., through her mother Sherri LeShore, et al. v. ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. et al., a proposed class of parents and children asked an Illinois federal court to approve a $1.1 million settlement to resolve claims that TikTok collected and shared personally identifiable information about children under the age of 13 without parental consent. The potential size of the settlement class could be as large as six million users.
The proposed deal is “the first settlement of its kind” stemming from “novel privacy claims,” the parents said in a motion seeking preliminary approval of the settlement. The causes of action alleged stem from violations of duties imposed by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, as TikTok and its owner, China-based ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., are illegally violating children’s privacy and endangering them.
Under the settlement, TikTok and its parent company would pay $1.1 million into a settlement fund.
What Is TikTok?
If your kids haven’t shown you yet, TikTok is a very popular short-form video app you might see them dancing to while recording themselves. In addition to creating your own videos and viewing those posting by others, the app lets users direct message or video chat each other, increasing potential dangers for young users.
The video app in question was initially developed under the name Musical.ly, which TikTok recently acquired. To register for Musical.ly accounts, users provided email addresses, phone numbers, usernames, first and last names, short biographies, and profile pictures. Users, including children, routinely included their ages in their biographies. Even though users could make their profiles private, identifying information including their usernames, profile pictures, and biographies was still publicly searchable.
Of note, just this past February, the Federal Trade Commission announced TikTok would pay $5.7 million for illegally collecting children’s data, which at the time was the largest-ever penalty for a children’s privacy breach.
Privacy Class Action Lawyers
Gary E. Mason, of Whitfield Bryson LLP, represents the proposed class in this matter. The lawsuit is styled T.K., through her mother Sherri LeShore, et al. v. ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. et al., case number 1:19-cv-07915, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Our trial lawyers were specifically chosen for the depth of their experience and the breadth of their knowledge. Among the group are attorneys who have been recognized for excellence by industry associations and have gained national recognition for significant victories in challenging cases.
John Whitfield has been significant in his management of a suit involving the death of my son in a motorcycle accident. His professionalism, compassion, support, and especially his knowledge base in this suit has been above reproach. He has communicated well and kept all parties apprised of the status of the suit. I feel he negotiated effectively to reach the best possible settlement for my son's estate. He certainly assures his clients are represented well. I am grateful for his successfully bringing this suit to a satisfactory conclusion. In short, John's expertise has been awesome.
I am very grateful to Whitfield Bryson for taking the initiative in filing suit against the manufacturers of defective CSST pipe. I am sure that this successful litigation will now help Maryland homeowners become aware of the danger of old style CSST pipe and to let them know what steps they may take to protect themselves against those dangers. Who knows how many lives and homes may be saved as a result of his efforts. Thank you for your important work in this litigation.