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Lawsuits against TikTok and how company kept the clean history

Published on 26.03.2024 by Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

There are always many controversies related to TikTok. Getting many lawsuits is not a new thing and especially social applications are part of it. TikTok is not an exception, the company saw many lawsuits, especially in the US. In this post, we will review only memorable cases that TikTok was involved in.


First class lawsuit against TikTok (data transfer)

In November 2019, a collective legal claim was initiated in California, charging that TikTok was involved in the unauthorized transmission of U.S. users' identifiable data to servers in China, managed by Tencent and Alibaba. Furthermore, ByteDance, the parent entity of TikTok, faced accusations of unlawfully acquiring user-generated content without consent. The primary complainant, a university student named Misty Hong, reported that despite never registering for an account, TikTok autonomously created one in her name, compiling her personal details, including biometric data, and summarized her profile. Additionally, it was claimed that this data was shared with Baidu, another major Chinese technology firm. By July 2020, twenty related lawsuits against TikTok were consolidated into one comprehensive class action lawsuit within the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In a significant turn of events, TikTok consented to a $92 million settlement to resolve the class action lawsuit in February 2021.


Inappropriate content

Indiana's top legal advisor, Todd Rokita, launched legal challenges against the social media giant TikTok, accusing it of presenting unsuitable material to young audiences. The grievances further contend that TikTok deliberately underreports the occurrence of sexual content, nudity, and adult-oriented suggestions on its network, rendering the "12-plus" age recommendation on Apple and Google's app marketplaces misleading.


Voice actors against the app

In May 2021, Bev Standing, a Canadian voice artist, initiated legal action against TikTok for incorporating her vocal recordings into its text-to-speech function without her consent. This legal challenge was lodged in the Southern District of New York. TikTok opted not to issue a response regarding the matter. Standing suspects her voice, which was originally recorded for projects with the Institute of Acoustics under the Chinese government, found its way onto TikTok's platform. Following the lawsuit, the voice featured in the app's text-to-speech service was altered.