TikTok parent company Bytedance has agreed to a proposed $92 million settlement with respect to a class action lawsuit waged by U.S. users who claim that the company illegally harvested underage users’ data, including scans of their faces to fuel its recommendation algorithm.
The proposed settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and is still pending a judge’s approval, The Wall Street Journal reports, which could take months. The suit stemmed from 21 separate complaints filed on behalf of users as young as eight years old in California, Illinois, and other states.
“While we disagree with the assertions, rather than go through lengthy litigation, we’d like to focus our efforts on building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community,” a TikTok spokesperson told the Journal in a statement. TikTok says it does not collect biometric data, and denies that it shares any user data with the Chinese government, as plaintiffs in the suit had alleged.
The Journal notes that Facebook last year agreed to pay $650 million to settle a similar lawsuit with respect to allegations that it violated biometric privacy laws. (Biometrics refer to distinctive body measurements that can be used as forms of identification, including fingerprints and facial recognition).