US FTC could bring suit or reach settlement with TikTok over privacy probe, says source

FILE PHOTO: The offices of TikTok in Culver City, California

(Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission could resolve its investigation into Chinese-owned short video app TikTok over allegedly faulty privacy and data security practices by either filing suit or reaching a settlement in the coming weeks, a source told Reuters.

Politico earlier reported the potential FTC action on Tuesday citing people with direct knowledge of the matter. The FTC and TikTok declined to comment. The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

Reuters in 2020 reported the FTC and the U.S. Justice Department were looking into allegations the popular social media app failed to live up to a 2019 agreement aimed at protecting children's privacy.

The probe is separate from ongoing concerns in Congress about the potential that the data of TikTok's 170 million U.S. users could be improperly accessed by the Chinese government. TikTok denies the allegation and says it has robust data security provisions.

Earlier in March, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill giving ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, about six months to sell the U.S. assets of the app or face a ban, citing national security concerns.

Senators are still undecided on how to proceed.

The White House had said the Senate should take "swift action," and President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill.

In 2021, ByteDance agreed to a $92 million class-action settlement to settle data privacy claims from some U.S. TikTok users.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Stephen Coates)