Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there a Notice?
A court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of the class action lawsuit known as In Re: TikTok, Inc., Consumer Privacy Litigation, MDL No. 2948, 20-cv-4699 (N.D. Ill.) (the “Action”) and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give Final Approval to the Settlement. This Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is overseeing this case. The persons who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” TikTok, Inc. f/k/a Musical.ly, Inc; ByteDance, Inc.; Musical.ly n/k/a TikTok, Ltd. and Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. are called the “Defendants.”
What is this litigation about?
The lawsuit alleges that Defendants collected and used, without sufficient notice and consent, Plaintiffs’ personal data in connection with Plaintiffs’ use of the App.
Defendants deny every allegation of wrongdoing, liability, and damages that were or could have been asserted in the litigation and that the claims in the litigation would be appropriate for class treatment if the litigation were to proceed through trial.
The Plaintiffs’ Complaint, Settlement Agreement, and other case-related documents are posted on the Important Documents page. The Settlement resolves the lawsuit. The Court has not decided who is right.
Why is this a class action?
In a class action, the person called the “Class Representative” (in this case, Plaintiffs) sues on behalf of herself and other people with similar claims.
All the people who have claims similar to the Plaintiffs’ are Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.
Why is there a settlement?
The Court has not found in favor of either Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides have agreed to a settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and if the Settlement is approved by the Court, Settlement Class Claimants will receive the benefits described in this Notice. Defendants deny all legal claims in this case. Plaintiffs and their lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.
WHO IS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT
Who is included in the Settlement?
The Settlement Class includes the following persons:
Nationwide Class: All persons who reside in the United States who used the App prior to September 30, 2021.
Illinois Subclass: All persons who reside in the State of Illinois and used the App in the State of Illinois to create videos prior to September 30, 2021.
If you do not reside in the United States and did not use the App prior to September 30, 2021, you are not a part of the Settlement Class and may not submit a claim to receive benefits under the Settlement. Also excluded from the Settlement Class are: (i) TikTok, its parent, subsidiaries, successors, affiliates, officers, and directors; (ii) the judge(s) to whom the Civil Actions are assigned and any member of the judge’s or judges’ immediate family; (iii) persons who have settled with and released TikTok from individual claims substantially similar to those alleged in the Civil Actions; (iv) persons who submit a valid and timely Request for Exclusion; and (v) all Class Counsel and counsel of record in the Civil Actions.
What if I am not sure whether I am included in the Settlement?
THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS
What does the Settlement provide?
To fully settle and release claims of the Settlement Class Members, Defendants have agreed to establish a $92 million fund (the “Settlement Fund”) to (i) make payments to the Settlement Class Members and (ii) pay for notice and administration costs of the Settlement, attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred by counsel for the Settlement Class, and service awards for Plaintiffs. Each Settlement Class member who timely files with the Settlement Administrator a valid Claim Form will receive a settlement payment of a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund.
If you are an Illinois resident and used the App in Illinois to create videos, you may be entitled to a payment up to 6 times that of non-Illinois residents due to certain claims in the lawsuit that are specific to Illinois residents.
How do I file a Claim?
If you qualify for a payment, you must complete and submit a valid Claim Form. You may download a Claim Form or request a Claim Form by calling the Settlement Administrator at the toll-free number below. To be valid, a Claim Form must be completed fully and accurately, signed under penalty of perjury, and timely submitted.
You may submit a Claim Form by U.S. mail or file a Claim Form online. If you send in a Claim Form by U.S. mail, it must be postmarked by March 1, 2022. If you file a Claim Form online, then you must do so by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 1, 2022.
No matter which method you choose to file your Claim Form, please read the Claim Form carefully and provide all the information required. Only one Claim Form may be submitted per Settlement Class Member. You should not submit a Claim Form if you do not qualify for a payment.
When will I receive my payment?
Payments to Settlement Class Members will be made only after the Court grants Final Approval to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved (see “Final Approval Hearing” below). If there are appeals, resolving them can take time. Please be patient.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
If you do not want benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself—or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.
How do I get out of the Settlement?
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a timely letter by mail to:
Musical.ly and/or TikTok Class Action
Attn: Exclusion Request
1650 Arch Street, Suite 2210
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
Your request to be excluded from the Settlement must be personally signed by you under penalty of perjury and contain a statement that indicates your desire to be excluded from the Settlement Class.
Your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2022. You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or at the Settlement Website.
You may opt out of the Settlement Class only for yourself or your minor child.
If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Defendants for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for the claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class in order to pursue your own lawsuit.
What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you opt out of the Settlement, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants about the issues in this case, including any existing litigation, arbitration, or proceeding. Unless you exclude yourself, all of the decisions and judgments by the Court will bind you.
The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the Releases and describes the Released Claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Settlement Class listed in Question 14 for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.
If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment?
No. You will not get a payment from the Settlement Fund if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
Do I have a lawyer in the case?
The Court has appointed the following lawyers as “Class Counsel” to represent all members of the Settlement Class.
Carlson Lynch, LLP
111 W. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Elizabeth A. Fegan
Fegan Scott LLC
150 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Ekwan E. Rhow
Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim,
Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.
1875 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one to appear in Court for you at your own expense.
How will the lawyers be paid?
The Settlement Agreement does not provide for a specific amount to be paid to the lawyers who filed the lawsuit but does allow the Court to award reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred on behalf of the Class to be paid from the Settlement Fund. Class Counsel intends to request up to 33.33% of the Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of reasonable, actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the litigation. The Court will decide the amount of fees and expenses to award.
Class Counsel will also request that Service Awards of $2,500.00 be paid to each of the Class Representatives for their services as representatives on behalf of the Settlement Class.
OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
How do I tell the Court I do not like the Settlement?
If you are a Settlement Class Member (and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class), you can object to any part of the Settlement. To object, you must by no later than January 31, 2021, send to the Settlement Administrator, Class Counsel, and Defendants’ counsel, and file with the Court, a written statement of the objection(s). The written statement of the objection(s) must include (i) a detailed statement of the Class Member’s objection(s), as well as the specific reasons, if any, for each objection, including any evidence and legal authority the Class Member wishes to bring to the Court’s attention and any evidence the Class Member wishes to introduce in support of his/her objection(s); (ii) the Class Member’s full name, address and telephone number; and (iii) information demonstrating that the Class Member is entitled to be included as a member of the Class.
Court Class Counsel Defendants’ Counsel Settlement Administrator United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604 Katrina Carroll
Carlson Lynch, LLP,
111 W. Washington Street,
Chicago, IL 60602
Elizabeth A. Fegan
Fegan Scott LLC,
150 South Wacker Drive,
Chicago, IL 60606
Ekwan E. Rhow
Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.,
1875 Century Park East, 23rd Floor,
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Anthony J Weibell
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati,
650 Page Mill Road,
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Musical.ly and/or TikTok Class Action
P.O. Box 58220
Philadelphia, PA 19102
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.
THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and any requests for fees and expenses (“Final Approval Hearing”).
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court has scheduled a Final Approval Hearing on May 18, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60604. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider the requests by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for a Service Award to the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. It is unknown how long these decisions will take.
Do I have to attend the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time and it complies with all the other requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend the hearing, but it is not necessary.
May I speak at the hearing?
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.
IF YOU DO NOTHING
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you are a Settlement Class member and do nothing, meaning you do not file a timely Claim, you will not get benefits from the Settlement. Further, unless you exclude yourself, you will be bound by the judgment entered by the Court.
GETTING MORE INFORMATION
How do I get more information?
The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. You are urged to review more details in the Settlement Agreement. For a complete, definitive statement of the Settlement terms, refer to the Settlement Agreement. You also may write with questions to the Settlement Administrator at Info@tiktokdataprivacysettlement.com or call the toll-free number, 1-866-377-2247.