TikTok agrees to $92m facial recognition settlement

TikTok has agreed to pay a $92 million settlement in response to a case accusing it of misusing consumers' data using artificial intelligence (AI).

The video-sharing social networking service denied all allegations but claimed it wanted to avoid a court case.

The legal challenge claimed TikTok broke US laws by using software to analyse users' facial features and by using algorithms to identify their age, gender and ethnicity for the purposes of ad targeting.

The case also included allegations that user data was sent to China.

If the settlement is approved by the federal judge in Illinois, a state with particularly strict biometric regulations, the settlement will be shared among US-based TikTok users.

Going forward, TikTok has agreed to disclose in its privacy policy whether its apps collect users' biometric information or GPS data, and whether it stores or transmits user data outside the US.

The news comes after the Trump administration sought to ban the social network in the US in 2019.

"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," said a TikTok spokesperson.

Ray Walsh at ProPrivacy said: "That TikTok has opted to pay such a massive settlement in this privacy case suggests it knows it would not win.

"It is obvious that TikTok has the money to fight the case and yet it is choosing to pay a huge sum in order to make the case go away.

He added: “The app's Chinese owner, ByteDance, obviously feels it is better off cutting its losses... than gaining more bad press further down the line."

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