Bipartisan lawmakers urge DOJ to act ‘expeditiously’ on TikTok complaint

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take quick action on a complaint about TikTok referred to the department by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to a letter sent Tuesday.

The complaint at issue centers on allegations of TikTok violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was uncovered through an FTC investigation.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) asked the DOJ to act “expeditiously” on the complaint the FTC referred to the department in June.

“Given TikTok’s previous violations of COPPA and the critical need to protect children’s online privacy, we urge the Department to expeditiously investigate these allegations and take all necessary action to protect children’s online privacy,” the lawmakers wrote.

The Hill reached out to TikTok for comment. A company spokesperson previously pushed back on the FTC’s allegations and said the company is “disappointed the agency is pursuing litigation instead of continuing to work with us on a reasonable solution.”

“We strongly disagree with the FTC’s allegations, many of which relate to past events and practices that are factually inaccurate or have been addressed. We’re proud of and remain deeply committed to the work we’ve done to protect children and we will continue to update and improve our product,” the spokesperson said in a statement in June.

The FTC announced it was referring the complaint to the DOJ in June as a matter of “public interest.” The agency said an investigation “uncovered reason to believe named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and that a proceeding is in the public interest.”

The complaint is based on a compliance review of TikTok, formerly known as, following a 2019 settlement over violations of COPPA.

The four lawmakers who sent the letter are the bipartisan pairs in each chamber leading pushes to pass an updated COPPA 2.0 that would increase children’s online privacy protections.

Children’s online safety has emerged as a rare unifying issue across party lines; however, despite bipartisan support and momentum throughout the past year Congress has yet to bring kids online safety bills to floor votes in either chamber.

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