The popular TikTok video app is in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (AVG), states Süddeutsche Zeitung. TikTok seems to do at least two things that according to the AVG are not allowed: it follows users and sends data from these users to Facebook and Appsflyer, among others. Appsflyer is a marketing / analysis tool that shares data with 4,500 customers.
By following users, the German newspaper is referring to checking how TikTokkers continue to behave online. It is all followed by the Chinese app, without the user having the option to delete that information.
The data that is sent to Facebook and Appsflyer has just been sent there by accident. Analysis of the newspaper shows that the traffic that goes to and from the video app on a daily basis constantly “leaks” information to Facebook and Appsflyer. It doesn’t matter if you open, close the app, watch videos or enter search terms: TikTok is certainly not the only one aware of your behavior on the platform. You do not need to have an account for that, because if you use TikTok accountlessly, you will receive a number that allows TikTok to share your data with the largest social network in the world.
TikTok keeps an eye on you in a very ingenious way: it uses sounds to capture your virtual fingerprint. A sound is generated and the feedback is recorded. Each device handles this differently, which gives much insight to TikTok. Here it becomes interesting, because opinions may differ on this.
Is this virtual fingerprint a form of cookies or not? After all, according to the AVG, permission is required before cookies can be placed. Currently, the app never asks permission. What doesn’t help is that TikTok has no transparent way to show where the data is going, let alone delete it.