TikTok encountered consumer complaints in Europe

Consumer groups say the app’s “vague” privacy policy violates GDPR

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TikTok is under fire in Europe as the data collection policies of big tech and social media are increasingly challenged.

BEUC has filed a complaint against the Chinese-owned app with the EU network of consumer protection authorities. It is alleged that TikTok is violating the block’s stringent privacy laws known as GDPR through its supposedly “vague” terms of use and “cannot protect children from hidden” advertisements and inappropriate content. “

The complaint is based on the findings of two reports that analyzed the privacy policy of the short-form video app and the techniques used to process mobile data. According to BEUC, TikTok has repeatedly changed its data and protection practices across the European region without publicly addressing the updates.

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The group adds that TikTok also does not provide details on the way in which personal information is legitimately collected in its “ambiguous” privacy policy.

Concerns are also raised about the obfuscation of the app’s advertising practices, as the popup – Consent mechanism for personalized ads does not meet the requirements of the GDPR And that TikTok does not clarify what this authorization entails in terms of how users are actually profiled for advertising purposes.

Therefore, the BEUC concludes that the app violates the principles of the GDPR has violated the transparent data collection and minimization policy, which service should clearly demonstrate that it does not collect more than the minimum amount of data required for its operation. According to BEUC, this also has a negative impact on the ability of users to assert their rights with regard to the use of their personal data.

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On the technical side, it claims that TikTok tracks users by multiple identifiers regardless of their age, preferences or the status of their accounts. The consumer group emphasizes that younger users can easily bypass the app’s age verification method, which has “hidden” advertising practices that encourage them to create content for brands under the guise of hashtag challenges. In addition to BEUC’s complaint, consumer organizations in 15 countries have alerted their national authorities and urged them to start their own investigations.

TikTok in their response to Reuters that “it is always open to hearing how we can improve and we have contacted BEUC as we would welcome a meeting to hear their concerns. ” It also pointed to its in-app summary of its privacy policy, which it believes makes digestion easier for teenagers, who make up the bulk of its user base.

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Last year, the European Data Protection Agency set up a TikTok task force to help Coordinate possible actions against the company. This step was intended to streamline the numerous privacy investigations the app has faced in France, Italy, Holland, and Denmark. Meanwhile, BEUC has previously raised concerns about Google’s then-pending acquisition of Fitbit over data collection, although that deal was finally approved by the European Commission late last year after an expanded merger investigation.

Engadget

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