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