Wednesday 30 November 2022

TikTok faces second Dutch mass claim, this time over children’s privacy

Consumers association Consumentenbond and the Take Back Your Privacy foundation are demanding social media company TikTok pay all Dutch children who use the platform damages of around €1,000.

In total, the two organisations are claiming €1.5bn from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, for illegally collecting and trading in the children’s private information. The data from Dutch children has enabled the company to sell advertising which specifically targets the young audience, the two agencies say.

‘TikTok’s way of working is pure exploitation and the company is earning hundreds of millions a year from children,’ Consumentenbond director Sandra Molenaar said.

In addition, the data is sent abroad, with no guarantees for privacy or safe storage, the agencies say. They want TikTok to destroy the data on Dutch children which it has been holding.

The Consumentenbond has hired specialized mass claim office Scott+Scott to take care of the legal action. ‘Children don’t realise their privacy has been breached,’ lawyer Damiën Berkhout told broadcaster RTL. ‘They don’t read the small print. In fact, reading the small print is a waste of time, because the information TikTok provides is unclear, incomplete and illegible.’

Second case

The case is the second facing TikTok in the Netherlands. Earlier this month, Dutch foundation SOMI said it is suing the Chinese owned video platform for failing to protect the safety of children around Europe and for and breaching European advertising and privacy rules.

Some 64,000 parents have registered claims with non-profit market information foundation to a combined amount of €1.4bn.

SOMI maintains that the platform is failing to protect children from taking part in dangerous challenges as well as breaching their privacy. An Italian judge, for example, recently ruled TikTok must block users who have not confirmed they are over the required age of 13 after a 10-year-old died as a result of a challenge shown on the platform.

Dutch privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens recently concluded an investigation into TikTok and privacy but cited ‘legal procedures’ which stop it from making the results public, RTL said.

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