A university student in California named Misty Hong, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Chinese-based social media video app TikTok, accusing it of harvesting large amounts of user data and storing it in China, Dawn reported.
According to the details, the court filing said, “TikTok clandestinely has vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China vast quantities of private and personally-identifiable user data”.
The lawsuit has alleged, “TikTok also has surreptitiously taken user content, such as draft videos never intended for publication, without user knowledge or consent”.
“In short, TikTok’s lighthearted fun comes at a heavy cost,” the lawsuit said.
The social media app which is quiet popular with teenagers around the world, was launched by Chinese company ByteDance in September 2017.
The suit marks the latest legal battle for the app. Earlier in November, the United States (US) government had opened a national security investigation into TikTok, according to the New York Times, potentially looking into whether the app was sending data to China.
Misty Hong alleges that the app retrieved her data without permission – including videos that she had created but not shared online with friends – and transferred that data to servers run by companies that cooperate with the Chinese government.
Hong filed the suit on behalf of the approximately 110 million US residents who have downloaded the app.
In November, TikTok didnot gave any comment on a possible US investigation but emphasised that the respect of US users and regulators was its highest priority.
TikTok claimed that it has distanced itself from Chinese authorities, maintaining that its servers are located outside of the country and that its data is therefore not subject to Chinese law.
In November, the app hit 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, outperforming the photo-sharing app Instagram.