A former Children’s Commissioner for England has announced plans for a legal claim against social media platform TikTok and its parent company ByteDance.
The video app has around 800 million users across the world, and has become popular with children and teenagers.
Anne Longfield, who is being represented by law firm Scott and Scott, says she has brought the legal claim on behalf of millions of children in the UK and Europe.
She accuses the company of illegally collecting private information from these children, and sharing it with unknown third parties for profit.
The claim will allege that TikTok is violating the UK Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as the UK’s post-Brexit data rules, by “failing to provide adequate safeguards to prevent illegal processing of children’s information”.
It argues that TikTok takes children’s personal information “without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary consent required by law, and without parents and children knowing what is being done with their private information”.
Longfield says she also aims to win compensation for affected children, which could be worth thousands of pounds per child.
Earlier this year, an organisation representing national consumer groups across the EU also filed a complaint against the video-sharing platform.
In 2019, the Chinese firm was given a record $5.7 million fine by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for mishandling children's data.