Ever since the days of Musicall·y – not us, the social app that ByteDance bought and merged with TikTok – there have been controversies and questions around these apps and children’s privacy. They included a $5.7m fine in February 2019 after a case brought by the FTC in the US.

Now the company is facing a new challenge in the UK, with a High Court case launched by the former children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. She has filed the case on behalf of children in the UK and Europe, claiming that TikTok is breaking data protection laws in both territories.

“We’re not trying to say that it’s not fun. Families like it. It’s been something that’s been really important over lockdown, it’s helped people keep in touch, they’ve had lots of enjoyment. But my view is that the price to pay for that shouldn’t be there – for their personal information to be illegally collected en masse, and passed on to others, most probably for financial gain, without them even knowing about it,” said Longfield.

TikTok has responded via a spokesperson, saying that “Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, and our teenage users in particular. We believe the claims lack merit and intend to vigorously defend the action.”

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