The social network TikTok has placed a device on a large number of websites that allows it to monitor the activity of Internet users, according to a study by a company specializing in providing tools for protection against ad tracking severance. At the request of American Special Press Consumer Reports. This tracking also applies to internet users who don’t have an account on TikTok.
To do this, TikTok partners with companies “Tracking Pixels”. Once loaded during navigation on the page on which they are placed, they automatically provide a certain amount of information, which may be personal.
Potentially sensitive data
According to Disconnect’s analysis of 20,000 websites (including some of the most popular sites in the US and the largest sites at “.org”, “.edu” and “.gov”), “Hundreds of Companies Share Data with TikTok”. Some sites are sensitive because they may reveal information about health or religion, such as American Planned Parenthood or the United Methodist Church.
According to Consumer Reports, this data may include the IP address (identifier of a device connected to the Internet), the unique number associated with the Internet user, the specific page consulted, or what the Internet user enters on his keyboard. This information is used for advertising purposes: a company with a tracking mechanism provided by a social network may, for example, ask the same social network to show advertising for its products to Internet users who have visited its site.
Most global advertising companies like Google and Facebook also use this process. It’s no surprise that TikTok, an advertising juggernaut in the making, is engaging in these methods, even if its “pixels” are far fewer than those of Google or Facebook.
“Like other platforms, the data we receive from advertisers is used to improve the performance of our ads” A spokesperson for TikTok explained Consumer Reports. According to the latter, TikTok has mechanisms in place to prevent the transmission of sensitive data (eg minors’ or health-related).