TikTok Sued over Alleged Privacy Violations

Libby Vish, Esq. | VP, Business Development


On Friday, November 25, 2022, a claim was filed in the United States District Court Central District of California against TikTok and parent company Byte Dance (collectively, “defendants”). The plaintiff claims his privacy was violated through a tracking device in the defendants’ product.In the 76-page complaint, named plaintiff Austin Recht alleges that Defendants “invaded the privacy of [users] by secretly intercepting details and contents about [users]…without [users’] consent.” Plaintiff alleges defendants’ in-app browser is a “sophisticated data collection mechanism.” The complaint continues that the defendants are tracking the activity of users who visit external websites through the TikTok app without users’ consent. The complaint also alleges Defendants used the data to generate revenue and that the activities are in violation of wiretap laws.

Plaintiff proposed the establishment of a class action for anyone who downloaded the TikTok app and used the in-app website browser. Regarding potential class size, the complaint stated that as of August 2020, “TikTok represented that it had over 100 million U.S. users, more than 50 million whom were daily users.”

The complaint alleges multiple counts including violation of the Federal Wire Tap Act, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, Violation of California Business and Professions Code, Violation of Common Law Invasion of Privacy – Intrusion Upon Seclusion, Invasion of Privacy and Violation of the California Constitution, and Unjust Enrichment. Plaintiff seeks relief of an injunction against Defendants’ conduct, compensation of class members for costs, economic damages and punitive damages and disgorgement, all remedies available under the Acts which the Defendants actions violated, statutory and civil penalties.

Recht is represented by Roland Tellis, Sterling Cluff, David Fernandes and Shannon Royster of Baron & Budd PC and Don Bivens of Don Bivens PLLC.

The case is Austin Recht v. TikTok Inc. et al., case number 2:22-cv-08613, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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