$92M TikTok Settlement Sent to Judge for Preliminary Approval

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On February 25, 2021, plaintiffs in the TikTok multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) submitted a motion to Judge John Z. Lee of the Northern District of Illinois, requesting preliminary approval of a $92 million settlement in the TikTok litigations. The settlement, if approved, will bring an end to an MDL comprised of 21 putative class actions that similarly allege that defendants TikTok Inc. (“TikTok”) and its parent company Byte Dance Technology Inc., mishandled issues of plaintiffs’ privacy.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the popular video sharing app infiltrates its users’ devices and extracts a broad array of private data, including biometric data and content, which defendants then use to track and profile TikTok users for targeted advertising purposes which resulted in profit. Plaintiffs in the MDL argued that the defendants violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), California Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act (“CDAFA”), California Constitutional Right to Privacy, California Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws, California Constitutional Right to Privacy, California Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws, Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”), Intrusion Upon Seclusion and restitution/unjust enrichment in addition to violation of Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (“BIPA”).

The $92 million settlement will be divided among both the nationwide class of plaintiffs and an Illinois sub-class on a pro rata basis. The motion described how class counsel intends to make an application to the court for attorneys’ fee awards in an amount not to exceed 33.33% of the settlement fund. Class representatives will receive up to $2,500.

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Non-monetary aspects of the settlement included defendants’ agreement not to use the app for: (i) collection or storage of a user’s biometric information or identifiers; (ii) collection of geolocation or GPS data; (iii) collection of information in users’ clipboards; and (iv) transmittal of United States users’ data outside the U.S., unless disclosed expressly in the TikTok privacy policy.

It is estimated that the nationwide class is made up of 87.6 million TikTok users with the Illinois subclass estimated to be around 1.4 million users.

The case is: In re: TikTok Inc. Consumer Privacy Litigation, Case No.: 1:20-cv-04699, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.


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