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The legal claim is a representative action brought on behalf of children under the age of 16 (under 13 in the UK) and resident in the UK or the EEA since 25 May 2018 who have used the TikTok and/or Musical/ly apps.
The claim alleges that TikTok and ByteDance have violated UK and EU children’s data protection law (GDPR), and deceived parents about how exposed their children’s private information is when they use the app.
When a child uses TikTok, the social media platform collects an enormous amount of private and personal information.
However, the legal claim argues that TikTok is failing to be transparent about the extent of children’s data it processes and the purposes for which children’s private information is collected.
The legal claim was filed in the High Court of England and Wales in December 2020. The claim is currently ‘stayed’ pending the outcome of the Lloyd v Google case, which is being heard by the Supreme Court in late April 2021. Lloyd v Google is likely to have a bearing on how the claim against TikTok is pursued.
The legal claim is being led by Anne Longfield OBE. Anne was the Children’s Commissioner for England between March 2015 and February 2021. Her role involved working closely with policymakers to promote and protect children’s rights, with a focus on the most vulnerable young people in society.
Anne is widely considered as a leading expert in the children’s rights-space, with three decades of experience in shaping children and family-related policies. This includes working in former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Strategy Unit for developing the Sure Start programme.
During her role as Commissioner, Anne led initiatives aimed at securing a new framework for children’s digital rights at both a UK Government, and United Nations level. She has also overseen reports – including the Access Denied report from December 2020 – which explored the potential harms arising from children’s use of social media platforms such as TikTok.
“TikTok is a hugely popular app, but behind the fun songs, dance challenges and lip-sync trends lies something far more sinister.”
Anne Longfield OBE has instructed Scott+Scott UK LLP as solicitors for the legal claim. Scott+Scott’s solicitors have extensive expertise in complex contentious matters, including collective/class action and representative litigation. Its US affiliate, Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP, is currently leading a legal claim against certain entities in the ByteDance group in relation to breaches by those companies of data privacy laws in the United States.
Anne has also instructed a highly experienced barrister team from Essex Court Chambers, one of the leading sets at the Bar.