TikTok’s parent company called ByteDance was accused of collecting children’s data from Musical.ly without their parents’ explicit consent. ByteDance is a technology company that builds various content platforms that inspire, entertain, and inform people all over the world.
Musical.ly was a social media service that allowed people to create and share short lip-sync videos. In 2017, Byte Dance bought the service and later in 2018, it was merged with TikTok into one app that is now also called TikTok.
The new lawsuit accuses ByteDance of violating child privacy laws by collecting data of the Musical.ly young users since 2014. According to the complaint, ByteDance “surreptitiously tracked, collected, and disclosed the personally identifiable information and/or viewing data of children under the age of 13 without parental consent.” This data included names, phone numbers, and geolocations. All of these was allegedly sold to third-party advertisers.
According to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), it is forbidden for social media companies to collect the data of children if there’s no explicit parental consent and permission. Therefore, this case is considered to be a violation of the child privacy law.
TikTok’s spokesperson claims that the company is now working on resolving the issue and disagrees with most of allegations mentioned in the complaint.