CPM Seeks to Recover Damages for Users Affected by TikTok’s Biometric Data Storing
CPM Seeks to Recover Damages for Users Affected by TikTok’s Biometric Data Storing

Social media is a deeply embedded part of our culture. The rise and use of social media applications (apps) has become as common as having a smart phone or a computer. The prevalence of these apps is especially persistent in use by minors and young adults.

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. The application is used to create short, “fun” videos typically featuring the user performing a song, dance, or themed monologue. Largely targeted at, and used by teenagers, TikTok is one of the most downloaded social media applications of the decade. As of 2019, 41% of TikTok’s 800 million users were between the ages of 16 and 24, with 90% of this group using the app daily.

TikTok includes filters that can alter the user’s voice, face, and background. Face filters have attractive labels such as “trending” and “funny”. These filters can impose images on or alter the user’s image. By design, these filters collect, store, and retain the facial geometry of users.

In storing a copy of the biometric data and identifiers of users that employ facial filters, TikTok is in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Users were neither notified nor asked for their consent to this data storage and have not been told how long or for what purpose this data will be stored. Additionally, TikTok’s Privacy Policy for Younger Users (updated in January of 2020) failed to disclose adequate information on the collection and retention of facial geometry, as well as the retention of biometric information and biometric identifiers.

Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, LLP is seeking to recover damages through a class action for any user of the Musical.ly App or the TikTok App, who, while residing in Illinois, used Musical.ly’s or TikTok’s face filters, face stickers, or the face-tracker lens on image or video in which the user’s face appeared. If you are a user of these applications and have used these features, please contact Noor Rahman at Nrahman@cpmlegal.com to learn more about your rights and the options available to pursue legal remedies.


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