The former Children’s Commissioner of Britain has filed a lawsuit against social media giant Tik Tok. The lawsuit alleges that the company collected the personal information of millions of children using the application. The complaint was filed on Tuesday by Anne Longfield. Longfield is seeing over a billion in damages from Tik Tok and parent company Bytedance on behalf of children in Britain and Europe who used the application since May 25, 2018.
Longfield served as Children’s Commissioner between 2015 and earlier this year. She’s accusing the app of being a data collection service effectively disguising itself as a social media network, adding in a statement, “We want to put a stop to Tik Tok’s shadowy data collection practices.”
The lawsuit alleges that Tik Tok, which has over 800 million worldwide users, collects a wealth of information from children including telephone numbers, location data, biometric data, and photos and videos. This information si collected for unknown third parties without warning, consent, or transparency by users – as required by law.
“TikTok is deliberately opaque about who has access to children’s private information, which is incredibly valuable to the company,” says a website about the lawsuit. “Its parent company, Cayman Islands-based ByteDance, is expected to make nearly $30 billion in 2020 with over two-thirds of this being advertising revenue involving the transfer of personal information.”
The website claims the lawsuit is to stop Tik Tok from processing information on millions of children, to delete the information it has already collected about children, and to compensate those children – which could equal thousands of dollars per child.
A spokesperson for Tik Tok responded to the claim by saying that it lacks merit and that Tik Tok will “vigorously defend the action.”
“Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, and our teenage users in particular,” the spokesperson said.