TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDan could face a damages claim worth billions of pounds (dollars) in London’s High Court over allegations that they have illegally harvested the private data of millions of European children, Reuters has reported.
That case will be heard next week and affected children could receive thousands of pounds each if the claim is successful.
“TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform that has helped children keep in touch with their friends during an incredibly difficult year. However, behind the fun songs, dance challenges and lip-sync trends lies something far more sinister,” Anne Longfield, the former Children’s Commissioner for England told BBC.
Longfield alleged that every child that has used TikTok since May 25, 2018, may have had private personal information illegally collected by ByteDance through TikTok for the benefit of unknown third parties.
“Parents and children have a right to know that private information, including phone numbers, physical location, and videos of their children are being illegally collected,” she added.
A TikTok representative said privacy and safety were the company’s top priorities and that it had robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, especially teenage users.
“We believe the claims lack merit and intend to vigorously defend the action,” the representative said.
Earlier this year in March TikTok was banned in Pakistan due to immoral content, but the ban was later lifted.
The popular video-sharing app was banned for the first time in October last year. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had blocked TikTok after the company “failed to fully comply” with its instructions for the “development of an effective mechanism for proactive moderation of unlawful online content”. Later, the ban was lifted when the TikTok management assured authorities that it will block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.