US lawsuit against TikTok focuses on children’s privacy

  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is targeting TikTok over alleged violations of children’s privacy rights, diverging from issues related to adult data privacy.
  • TikTok faces legal challenges, including a DOJ lawsuit and a mandate to divest its U.S. operations, amid ongoing concerns over data security.

TikTok had been reported for breaching children’s privacy, including allowing them to create accounts and supply their personal information without parental permission before 2017. The DOC is about to sue the company, illustrating the importance DOC attaches to data privacy and as a warming to other social media platforms.  
–Audrey Huang, BTW reporter

The DOJ is about to sue TikTok over allegations that the social media platform violated children’s privacy rights, diverging from concerns about misleading adult users on data practices.

What happened

The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to sue TikTok over allegations that the social media platform violated children’s privacy rights, diverging from concerns about misleading adult users on data practices. Following an investigation, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) referred the case to the DOJ, citing potential violations that warrant legal action in the public interest. This scrutiny stems from claims that TikTok failed to uphold a 2019 agreement aimed at protecting children’s privacy, as reported by Reuters in 2020. TikTok has contested the FTC’s allegations, expressing disagreement with the decision to pursue litigation. Concurrently, there are separate regulatory challenges in Congress regarding the potential misuse of TikTok user data by the Chinese government, allegations which TikTok denies. Additionally, TikTok is challenging a U.S. law requiring its parent company ByteDance to divest its U.S. operations by mid-January, arguing the impracticality of compliance without court intervention. ByteDance asserts that a ban on TikTok in the U.S. would be unavoidable without legal relief, citing technological and legal obstacles to divestiture.

Also read: The FTC starts inquiry into TikTok’s privacy and security actions (

Also read: Meta, allies oppose Nevada’s child online protection rollback (

Why it’s important

This development regarding TikTok’s impending lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice underscores critical issues at the intersection of technology regulation, privacy concerns, and international relations. The decision to focus on allegations of children’s privacy violations instead of broader data privacy issues signals a targeted approach to safeguarding vulnerable user groups amidst growing scrutiny of digital platforms.

This case is part of a broader trend where governments globally are grappling with how to regulate and oversee social media platforms, particularly those with significant user bases and international ownership ties. It also reflects ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China over data security and national sovereignty concerns, exemplified by TikTok’s legal challenges and allegations of improper data access by the Chinese government.

For readers, this news highlights the importance of understanding how digital platforms handle user data, especially in the context of laws designed to protect privacy and ensure fair practices. It prompts reflection on the implications of international tech policies on individual privacy rights and the broader implications for global tech companies navigating complex regulatory landscapes.


Audrey Huang

Audrey Huang is an intern news reporter at Blue Tech Wave. She is interested in AI and startup stories. Send tips to

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *