The app, previously known as Musical.ly and now known as TikTok, is being charged with allegations of collecting and disclosing personal information in violation of privacy laws for children under the age of 13.
China's Bytedance acquired Musical.ly in 2017 – which was originally launched in 2014 – worth almost $ 1 billion at that time. Later Bytedance announced renamed Musical.ly to TikTok, an existing app with a short-form video format. All three companies are named as defendants in the class action lawsuit filed Tuesday with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The complaint reviewed by Gizmodo claims that the app's first problem was the following: There were no proper safeguards to prevent minors from using the app. To create an account, the app required personal information from users such as email address, phone number, username, first and last name, as well as a photograph and biography, which may indicate their age. In addition, the complaint alleges that the app also collected location data on users between December 201
As a platform where users could communicate with other users through their videos, and direct messages, user accounts were set to public by default – along with all of this personal information . The lawsuit, however, claims that even if users set their profile to private, "their profiles, including usernames, profile pictures and bios, remained public and searchable for other users"
By October 2016 the App with a feature that allowed users to connect to other Musical.ly users in their environment through a My City tab A 80-kilometer radius that the user can connect and interact with following the user or sending direct messages. "The lawsuit alleges that this combination of errors created a situation that could potentially become a dangerous and predatory environment for children.
"Because virtually all privacy features were disabled by default in the app, there were grave consequences, including reports from adults trying to connect to underage children through the app," the complaint said. "These reports revealed the app's dangerous potential for allowing adults who pose as children to use the app to send inappropriate messages to underage children."
The complaint alleges that Musical.ly received "thousands" of messages from parents about their children without their consent in the app.
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had reached an agreement with Musical.ly for $ 5.7 million from children "in violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act ( COPPA).
In a statement to Gizmodo via email about the new complaint, a TikTok spokesman said that a "resolution should be announced shortly. "" TikTok has some time ago been made aware of the allegations in the complaint, and although we disagree with much of what is said in the complaint, we have worked with t. The parties involved are seeking a solution to the problem Problems, "said the spokesman.