California student’s lawsuit accuses TikTok of sharing data with China

A California college student has sued the viral video app Tik Tok over allegations that it transmitted data about users’ devices and their browsing histories to servers housed in China despite promising not to do so.

NBC News reported Tuesday that Misty Hong alleges in a suit filed in her home state that she downloaded the app earlier this year but did not create an account, only to discover later that the app had created one for her that reportedly included some of her biometric information taken from videos she had filmed but not published.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Tik Tok’s coding includes source code from two Chinese companies, an advertising firm accused of inserting spyware on users’ devices as well as a tech giant, though it reportedly did not provide evidence for this charge or the allegations of data being stored in China.


App creators “vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China vast quantities of private and personally-identifiable user data” without users’ knowledge, the lawsuit states according to NBC.

Tik Tok representatives did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

The app, which is extremely popular among teenagers and young adults, is run by a Chinese company based internationally, which has vowed in the past that no user data collected by the program would be stored on Chinese servers due to security concerns from the U.S. and other nations.

The company previously faced criticism after a U.S. teenager’s account was suspended after she uploaded a video criticizing China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, which human rights organizations say are being violently repressed by Chinese authorities.

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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