Case Statistics

Defendant Name: TikTok Inc., and ByteDance Inc.
Case Number: 1:20-cv-03771
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Practice Area: Consumer Fraud, Privacy & Data Breaches
Status: Active
Date Filed: 06/26/2020

Case Overview

In September 2020, FeganScott’s Beth Fegan was appointed co-lead counsel in a class action lawsuit against popular smartphone app, TikTok, and its parent company, ByteDance, Inc., on behalf of consumers who use the app. The suit claims that the app surreptitiously collects, uses, and stores users’ facial geometry, which is private, legally protected biometric information, as well as other private information and data.

The suit also claims that TikTok fails to disclose or obtain consent for the collection, use or storage of this data, why it is collecting the data, who has access, or how long it will be retained —all of which is required by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and other consumer and privacy protection laws.

On February 25, 2021, FeganScott, along with our co-counsel, asked the court to approve a $92 million proposed settlement to resolve these claims. In addition to creating a monetary fund for TikTok users, the settlement requires that TikTok initiate a new privacy compliance training program and take other steps to protect its users’ privacy going forward.

Illinois is currently the only state in the country with a statute that allows consumers to seek monetary damages if their biometric information is wrongfully taken. Because of this important, Illinois-specific claim, the settlement proposes that each Illinois class member receive an additional five shares of the $92 million settlement fund compared to other class members nationwide.

This proposed settlement is one of the largest ever achieved in a consumer BIPA case, and one of the largest privacy class action settlements.

Once approved, class members will receive information about how to participate in the settlement.

The suit also claims that TikTok fails to disclose or obtain consent for the collection, use or storage of this data, why it is collecting the data, who has access, or how long it will be retained —all of which is required by the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and other consumer and privacy protection laws.

In addition to the personal information that users knowingly and unknowingly provide to TikTok, the complaint alleges that the company also collects information about the user from third parties, such as Facebook and advertising companies, and shares private user information with those companies as well.

Further, the suit notes that the FTC found that TikTok was “directed to children” based upon the app’s “subject matter, visual content, music, and the presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to kids,” and that the company had “actual knowledge” that it was collecting personal information from children.

The suit seeks to represent a nationwide class of individuals who have used TikTok, or appeared in a video on the TikTok app, and who are concerned about the use and storage of their biometric and other private data.