TikTok users are receiving notifications within the app itself, advising them that they may be eligible for a share of a recent class action lawsuit settlement.
On November 15, the video-sharing platform informed its U.S. based fans that (if they meet specific criteria) they can apply for a cut of this legal payment. The message then includes a link that you can follow to file your individual claim.
However, the notification does not really go into much detail beyond that, nor does it provide any real context about the lawsuit. To find out more, you have to click through to the aforementioned link, which you might be hesitant to do if you are worried about falling prey to some kind of malicious scam.
What Is the TikTok Class Action Lawsuit?
The first thing you should know is that the legal case—officially known as TikTok, Inc., Consumer Privacy Litigation—is genuine. It is being overseen by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs have alleged that TikTok’s parent company (ByteDance) has collected the personal data of its users without getting formal consent, therefore violating federal law. Specifically, this is referring to the use of things like phone numbers, biometric data and location.
While TikTok has denied all of the allegations levelled against them here, they have agreed to a huge settlement in order to avoid taking the case to trial (as page 4 of the legal document explains, the court has not ruled in favor of either party).
The payment in question is for $92,000,000, which will cover the plaintiff’s attorney fees, various administrative costs and, most importantly, the claims of individual TikTok users who fill out the required form.
Before you get too excited it is worth noting that the $92,000,000 figure will be shared between everybody who makes one of these claims. You will likely only see a minuscule fraction of that settlement once everything has been properly administrated.
There are reportedly 130 million TikTok users in the United States and, if all of them in the country applied, then you would be getting about 70 cents—and that’s without factoring the attorney fees and legal costs into the equation.
Who Is Eligible for the Settlement Payments?
Of course, not everybody is necessarily able to make a claim. According to the notice, the TikTok, Inc., Consumer Privacy Litigation settlement applies to the following groups:
- The “Nationwide Class”
- The “Illinois Subclass”
As per the legal definitions, this means that “all persons who reside in the United States” will technically be eligible. However, there is a big caveat to this, as you must have used the TikTok app prior to September 30, 2021. As such, if you are new to the social media platform then you will unfortunately not be able to file a claim.
The same applies to the people of Illinois, but they could be offered up to six times as much money, provided that they have used the app to actually create videos (as opposed to just watching them).
The reason for this is that the lawsuit alleges that TikTok specifically violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law, which means that residents of the state can seek extra monetary damages.
How To File a Claim
If you believe you are eligible, you can file a claim on your own behalf (or on the behalf of your child), but you must do this before the deadline of March 1, 2022.
The associated form can be found here and will require you to confirm your personal details and your eligibility status, whether that is as an Illinois-based creator (for the extra money) or as a general TikTok user.
When it comes to receiving the settlement, you will then need to choose between either Mastercard, PayPal, Venmo or paper check.
Once you have filled in the entire form, click submit.
This is not the only time that TikTok has found itself in legal hot water, as the company was already sued earlier this year by an actor claiming that their voice had been used on the app without express permission.
Meanwhile, a consumer group demanded a $1 million payout after alleged privacy breaches against Dutch children.