The social network TikTok has placed on a very large number of websites a device capable of monitoring the activities of Internet users, according to a study carried out on request by Disconnect, a company specializing in the supply of anti-advertising protection tools the American magazine consumer reports. This monitoring also affects Internet users who do not have an account on TikTok.
To do this, TikTok enters into partnerships with companies that have “web beacons”. As soon as they are loaded during navigation on the page on which they are placed, they automatically return a certain amount of information that may be personally identifiable.
Potentially sensitive data
According to Disconnect’s analysis of 20,000 websites (including some of the most popular websites in the United States and the largest in .org, .edu, and .gov), “Hundreds of organizations are sharing data with TikTok”. Some websites are sensitive because they may reveal health or religious information, such as B. that of the American Planned Parenthood or the United Methodist Church.
To consumer reports, this data may include the IP address (the identifier of a device connected to the Internet), a unique number of the Internet user, the page consulted or even what the Internet user types on their keyboard. This information is used for advertising purposes: the company that has the tracking mechanism offered by a social network may, for example, ask this social network to show advertisements for its products to Internet users who have already visited its website.
Most global advertising giants such as Google and Facebook use the process. It’s hardly surprising that TikTok, an up-and-coming advertising giant, also indulges in these methods, even if its “pixels” are far fewer than those of Google or Facebook.
“As with other platforms, the data we receive from advertisers is used to improve the effectiveness of our advertising.” a spokeswoman for TikTok explained consumer reports. According to the latter, TikTok has mechanisms to prevent sensitive data (e.g. from minors or health data) from being transmitted.