TikTok confronted with Dutch legal claim of EUR 1.5 billion for violating children's privacy in the Netherlands
Gepubliceerd op: 24 juni 2021
The popular social platform TikTok closely monitors children and illegally collects their personal data when they use the app. This personal data includes user profile information, videos, photos, location data and everything the child does on the app (TikTok amongst other things processes what children watch, the amount of time they watch it, what they like, and so on). The company also transfers personal data outside the EU without having put appropriate safeguards for such personal data in place.
It is estimated that TikTok has collected the personal data of between 1.2 and 1.6 million Dutch children. TikTok uses this personal data to earn billions in profits through targeted ad sales. In 2020, the turnover of TikTok's parent company was nearly USD 37 billion.
The Take Back Your Privacy Foundation and the Consumentenbond demand that the ByteDance group, the company behind TikTok, ceases its unlawful behavior vis-à-vis Dutch children. Moreover, the company must pay compensation to the victims. The total damages claim can be in excess of EUR 1.5 billion.
Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumentenbond: The conduct of TikTok is pure exploitation. The company earns hundreds of millions per year on the backs of children. And that while privacy law prescribes that children should receive additional protection. But TikTok does not care about that. It secretly collects all kinds of personal data from children and uses this for advertisements, from which it earns tons of money. TikTok has turned children into a product.’
Friederike van der Jagt, president of the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation said:
"TikTok is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is not really a social media platform, but instead a marketing platform that illegally collects private data from children in order to make money off them. TikTok is designed to make children watch for as long as possible, so that TikTok can collect as much data as possible. We want TikTok to stop its unlawful practices and modify the app so that children can safely use TikTok."
The Consumentenbond and the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation call on Dutch consumers to support the action by signing up via the Consumentenbond website. Specifically, parents of children who have used TikTok or its predecessor, musical.ly, in the Netherlands after 25 May 2018 can sign up to support the cause. Signing up is free.