FTC investigating TikTok for data practices, possible lawsuit

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently investigating popular social media platform TikTok over its data and security practices, according to a person familiar with the matter. This investigation could potentially result in a settlement or a lawsuit against the company.

The FTC is specifically looking into whether TikTok violated federal law by denying that individuals in China had access to U.S. user data. Additionally, the agency is examining potential violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires parental consent for the collection of personal information from children under 13.

FTC spokesperson Nicole Drayton and TikTok have both declined to comment on the investigation, which was first reported by Politico. The agency is reportedly nearing the end of its investigation and could reach a settlement with TikTok in the coming weeks. However, there is no set deadline for an agreement.

If the FTC decides to pursue a lawsuit against TikTok, the case would need to be referred to the Justice Department, which would have 45 days to decide whether to file a case on behalf of the FTC or make changes to the case.

This investigation comes after Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner and Senator Marco Rubio urged the FTC to look into TikTok, citing concerns over data access by ByteDance employees in China. ByteDance has previously fired employees who accessed data on journalists in an attempt to track down leaks.

Legislation that could potentially impact TikTok's presence in the U.S. has been approved in the House but faces challenges in the Senate. Lawmakers and intelligence officials have expressed concerns over the platform's potential ties to the Chinese government, although to date, there is no public evidence of such influence. The situation surrounding TikTok's data and security practices remains a contentious issue in Washington.


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