Judge Holds Off on Approval of TikTok Settlement
CHICAGO – A federal judge on Tuesday put off approval of a proposed $92 million class-action settlement by the social media app TikTok, wanting to give attorneys at least 21 days to address his questions about the proposal.
U.S. District Judge John Lee gave the attorneys who negotiated the settlement and those for parties objecting to it until March 23 to file written responses to his questions.
He’s also scheduled an April 6 hearing, at which he could render his decision to approve or disapprove of the agreement.
Chief among Judge Lee’s concerns Tuesday appeared to be that the settlement made no provision for notice of potential parties to the class action through the TikTok app itself.
Lawyers said such a notification was discussed at length, but in the end they decided overcoming and addressing hurdles to getting it done could bog down the talks on other aspects of the proposed settlement.
Last week the popular social media app agreed to pay $92 million to settle a class-action suit claiming it illegally tracked and shared the personal data of users, including information using facial recognition technology, without their consent.
“This is one of the largest settlements ever achieved in a consumer BIPA [Biometric Information Privacy Act] case, and one of the largest privacy class action settlements,” Ekwan Rhow, a co-lead counsel for the lawsuit, said in a public statement.
“It serves as a reminder to corporations that privacy matters, and they will be held accountable for violating consumers’ rights.”
The proposed settlement applies to 89 million TikTok users in the U.S. whose personal data was allegedly tracked and sold to advertisers and other third-parties, some of them based in China, in violation of state and federal law.
Katrina Carroll, one of the lawyers for TikTok users, said the proposed deal not only provides compensation for her clients, “but equally as important, it ensures TikTok will respect its users’ privacy going forward.”
“Social media seems so innocuous, but troubling data collection, storage, and disclosure can happen behind the scenes,” she added.
The settlement is the result of 21 federal lawsuits filed, mostly on behalf of minors, that claimed the company engaged in the “theft of private and personally identifiable TikTok user data.”
A TikTok spokesperson said while the company disagrees with the assertions in the lawsuit, it decided to settle the case rather than engage in lengthy litigation.
Under the proposed terms of the settlement, TikTok will no longer record a user’s biometric information, including facial characteristics, nor track a user’s location using GPS data.
Former President Donald Trump clamped down on TikTok over its ties to China. The app is owned by Beijing-based tech company ByteDance.
Though the Biden administration has pulled back from its predecessor’s crackdown on TikTok, instead launching a broader review of Americans’ use of Chinese technology, at least one federal entity is continuing to probe the social media platform.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency group led by the Treasury Department that probes companies with overseas connections, is in the midst of a national security review of TikTok that may ultimately force changes to the company’s corporate structure.
In The News
WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Friday gave the U.S. Federal Trade Commission until Aug. 19 to file an amended... Read More
WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Friday gave the U.S. Federal Trade Commission until Aug. 19 to file an amended complaint in its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the agency asked for a three-week... Read More
Reforming Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is not enough to curb the power of social media platforms,... Read More
Reforming Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is not enough to curb the power of social media platforms, and should be bolstered by federal and state laws to enforce transparency, accountability and anti-discrimination, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said. Despite the “tremendous benefits” the tech... Read More
BEDMINSTER, N.J. - Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google, and their CEOs... Read More
BEDMINSTER, N.J. - Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google, and their CEOs on Wednesday, alleging the companies violated his 1st Amendment rights when they banned him and suspended his accounts. “Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful,... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former top Trump advisor Jason Miller will launch GETTR, a new social media platform, on July 4, a... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former top Trump advisor Jason Miller will launch GETTR, a new social media platform, on July 4, a launch date chosen to “symbolically declare independence from Big Tech,” according to a release from the company. “There is a clear need for a new social... Read More
Last May, as Twitter was testing warning labels for false and misleading tweets, it tried out the word "disputed" with... Read More
Last May, as Twitter was testing warning labels for false and misleading tweets, it tried out the word "disputed" with a small focus group. It didn't go over well. "People were like, well, who's disputing it?" said Anita Butler, a San Francisco-based design director at Twitter... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former President Donald Trump on Saturday rolled out his new social media presence, inviting recipients of emails to... Read More
WASHINGTON - Former President Donald Trump on Saturday rolled out his new social media presence, inviting recipients of emails to his Save America PAC to subscribe to his page on rumble.com. The invite was sent out just hours before the return of his political rallies, with... Read More