A teenager holding a phone with the TikTok logo on it.

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Judge rules a 12-year-old girl can bring forward a privacy suit against TikTok

This is not the first time TikTok has had child privacy allegations levied at it.


Libby Cohen

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 31, 2020

A 12-year-old in the United Kingdom was granted anonymity in order to bring legal action against TikTok for allegedly violating UK and European Union child privacy laws, according to a new report.

The child privacy concerns in the UK are similar to ones brought up against the wildly popular app in the US.

The child in the UK “intends to go to a court asserting—rightly or wrongly— that her privacy rights and those of others like her have been infringed in ways that call for a remedy,” London Judge Mark Warby said in a decision while granting her anonymity on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports.

The news outlet also noted that the planned lawsuit against TikTok is in the “very early stage.” BBC reports the the girl is being supported by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England and that they believe TikTok violated UK and EU data protection laws.

In response to the decision from Warby, TikTok released a statement saying: “Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes, and technologies in place to protect all users, and our younger users in particular,” according to Bloomberg.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

This is not the first time TikTok has had child privacy allegations levied at it.

TikTok agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle allegations that it obtained personal information from children under 13-years-old without parental consent in 2019, which is a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

As apart of the settlement, TikTok agreed to remove content from creators under 13 already on the app and block any underage posts in the future.

Earlier this year consumer groups including the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy followed up with TikTok. The groups said the app had failed to live up to the 2019 agreements by continuing to violate COPPA in an Federal Trade Commission complaint.

You can read all of the Bloomberg report here.

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*First Published: Dec 31, 2020, 12:17 pm CST