This class action follows a representative action which was won on 30 December 2020 by Anne Longfield, a former Children’s Commissioners, for violations of the General Data Protection Regulations (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (“EU GDPR”), on behalf of children residents in the UK or the EEA since 25 May 2018 who used Musical.ly (now known as TikTok).
This High Court judgement, issued 8 March 2022, is important because it allowed the High Court to outline that the case was centred upon the misuse of personal data and the unlawful processing.
The class of persons represented in this class action are:
- children under the age of 16 (under 13 in the UK);
- who are resident in the UK or the EEA since 25 May 2018; and
- who have used the TikTok apps.
Children not wishing to be represented can opt out.
The class action claims that TikTok breached the EU GDPR and UK General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) (2016/679) (“UK GDPR”) requirements around transparency as to the extent of children’s data it processed and for what purposes the personal data was collected. The High Court highlighted the allegation that TikTok used the personal data which was required to create an account, and inferred information, such as age-range or gender. Some of the personal data used included behavioural and content information, user video watching duration, advertisement viewing, search history and repetitions of videos being viewed.
The case has been ’stayed’ by the High Court due to a case awaiting judgement in the Supreme Court. The outcome of Google LLC’s appeal in Lloyd (Respondent) v Google LLC (Appellant)  UKSC 50 is relevant to how the claim against TikTok will proceed as it will adjudicate on:
- the level of damages payable for the misuse of data in breach of the Data Protection Act and the EU Data Directive; and
- whether all consumers whose data has been misused suffer the same damage.
The case reference is SMO (a child) (by their litigation friend (acting as a representative claimant pursuant to CPR 19.6)) v TikTok Inc. and others  EWHC 489.
Please contact Jose Saras if you have any questions regarding the above.
The material contained in this article is only for general review of the topics covered and does not constitute any legal advice. No legal or business decision should be based on its content.