TikTok changes its terms of use in defiance of the consent of its users

TikTok changes its terms of use in defiance of the consent of its users


As of July 13, TikTok users in the European Union, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom will receive personalized advertising based on the content they watch, which has not been possible before. with their prior consent.

In one update of its conditions of use released on June 8, the Chinese video sharing app, used by more than one hundred million Europeans each month in 2020, clarified that this change will automatically apply to all its major customers, without further asking for their consent.

Users may, however, continue to refuse that “Data received from partners” of TikTok, that is via their activity on other Internet sites, have an influence on the advertisements addressed to them on the social network.

To justify this reversal, the company relies on its legitimate interests “Connect advertisers with users who may be interested in their products or services”. And clarifies that if minors are not affected by this change, they will receive, from the age of 18, a notification, followed within thirty days of the first personalized announcements.

Also read: TikTok in the viewfinder of the European Commission for its advertisements for children

Applications that depend on advertising

This advertising policy is already effective in the rest of the world. On April 15, 2021, the Chinese company changed its terms of use on all other continents.

Personalized advertising is a common practice on social media, which derives most of its profits from ads served to its users. TikTok is not the only one to impose this practice on its customers. It joins Instagram or Twitter in Europe, which already use such targeting, without their users always being aware.

Legally, the Digital Service Act on which the European institutions agreed last April 23, prohibits only the advertising of children or using sensitive data, such as religion or sexual orientation. The practice, now common to all major social networks in Europe, is therefore legal but debated.

The National Commission for Information Technology and Freedoms (CNIL), the independent French authority responsible for, among other things, enforcing the rights of citizens online, argued in January 2020 to leave the possibility for the user to refuse such a follow-up. “If the CNIL does not question the economic benefits of behavioral advertising, it remains convinced that this practice cannot exist at the expense of the right of individuals to the protection of their data and privacy,” she wrote.

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