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FTC Refers TikTok Complaint to DOJ Over Privacy Violations

 |  June 18, 2024

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on Tuesday that it has referred a complaint to the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the social media giant TikTok and its parent company ByteDance. The complaint pertains to potential violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The referral follows an extensive investigation into TikTok’s privacy and data security practices, initiated in response to allegations of non-compliance with COPPA. In March, sources informed Reuters that the FTC was contemplating either filing a lawsuit or reaching a settlement with TikTok to resolve the probe.

“The investigation uncovered reason to believe named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and that a proceeding is in the public interest, so the Commission has voted to refer a complaint to the Department of Justice,” the FTC stated. The Commission emphasized that public disclosure of the referral, a rare move, was deemed necessary in this case due to the significant public interest involved.

Related: US Appeals Court to Hear TikTok Divestiture Case in September

Specific details of the violations have not been disclosed by the FTC. However, the action underscores growing scrutiny over TikTok’s handling of user data, particularly the information of minors.

This probe is distinct from ongoing concerns within Congress regarding the potential for the Chinese government to access data from TikTok’s 170 million U.S. users. TikTok has consistently denied these allegations, asserting that user data is secure and not subject to Chinese government access.

Source: Reuters