1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Consumer group demands €1.5 billion from TikTok

June 24, 2021

For the second time this month, the video-sharing platform TikTok faces demands to pay more than €1 billion. The company has come under heavy scrutiny for its privacy regulations.

TikTok Logo at its US headquarters
The company was sued for more than €1 billion earlier this month from another Dutch groupImage: Mike Blake/REUTERS

Dutch consumer protection group Consumentenbond launched a €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) claim on Thursday against video-sharing platform TikTok over claims it unlawfully harvested users' personal data.

Consumentenbond, along with the Take Back Your Privacy foundation, demanded the platform pay damages to the 1.2 million to 1.6 million Dutch children who use the app. They also said TikTok should delete what the groups considered unlawfully collected data and said they would take the company to court if it refused.

Tricks of the Trade: How Good Apps Keep Us Hooked

"The conduct of TikTok is pure exploitation," said Consumentenbond director Sandra Molenaar in a statement. "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."

TikTok responded to the accusations with an emailed statement saying it was "committed to engage with external experts and organizations to make sure we're doing what we can to keep people on TikTok safe."

Popular with children despite privacy concerns

TikTok has been very popular with children and young adults to create and share short videos but has come under intense criticism from the US and EU over data protection concerns.

Last year, then-US President Donald Trump attempted to ban the platform in the country. Trump accused the platform of sharing user data with Chinese intelligence services. The act was frozen by sitting US PresidentJoe Biden earlier this month.

In February, TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, agreed to pay $92 million in a settlement to US users who claimed the app failed to get their consent to collect data in violation of privacy law in the US state of Illinois.

Earlier this month, a group of Dutch parents sued TikTok, claiming the platform did not protect their children's privacy and safety. The amount they sued for was just under what Consumentenbond demanded.

The European Commission told TikTok in May that it had one month to answer complaints from a European consumer group over its commercial practices, claiming some terms in TikTok's policies were misleading.

Min Jiang: 'Internet freedom is officially over'

kbd/sms (AP, Take Back Your Privacy)