It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but mobile application and technology companies are collecting vast quantities of user data. These privacy policies lay out what a company is collecting and how they use the data they collect on people.
How data is used
- To customize the content you see when you use the Platform.
- To send promotional materials from us or on behalf of our affiliates and trusted third parties
- To measure and understand the effectiveness of the advertising we serve to you and others and to deliver advertising
- To make suggestions and provide a customized ad experience
- To use User Content as part of our advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the Platform
- To understand how you use the Platform, including across your devices
- Consistent with your permissions, to provide you with location-based services, such as advertising and other personalized content
- To inform our algorithms
- To facilitate sales, promotion, and purchases of goods and services and to provide user support
Alarming Data collection
The statement above is vague and does not identify which US laws they mention. Is the company referring to federal, state, or local laws? Only five US states have enacted biometric laws, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, and New York, and it’s unclear how TikTok is collecting this type of data.
Sharing information with coporate offices
In addition, TikTok tells users they do not sell their data but are sharing it with “service providers and business partners to help us perform business operations and for business purposes…” The company further adds that the data shares with “Advertising, marketing, and analytics vendors.” They do not clarify who these companies are and what they do with the information they receive from TikTok.
I’m also concerned to see that TikTok shares the data they collect with their corporate office group, ByteDance, a Chinese company that owns and runs many other platforms. It’s unclear what the parent company does with the data shared with them and stores user data in centers in California and Singapore. I’m also wary that ByteDance might have connections to the Chinese government, and who knows how the Chinese government uses the information they collect from users across the world.
I recognize American’s generally distrust the Chinese government, largely thanks to former President Trump’s stance on TikTok and attempting to ban the social media app from the United States.