A study reveals that a “web beacon”, a common advertising technique that allows data to be collected, has been placed on behalf of the Chinese application on many websites.
The social network TikTok has placed on a very large number of websites a device allowing the activity of Internet users to be monitored, according to a study carried out by the company specializing in the supply of tools for protection against advertising tracking Disconnect, at the request of the American trade magazine Consumer Reports. This monitoring also concerns Internet users who do not have an account on TikTok.
To do this, TikTok is partnering with companies that have “web beacons”. Once loaded during navigation on the page on which they are placed, they automatically return 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 United States and the largest in “.org”, “.edu” and “.gov”), ” hundreds of organizations share data with TikTok”. Some sites are sensitive since they can reveal information on health or religion, such as that of the American Parental Planning or that of the United Methodist Church.
According to Consumer Reports, this data may include the IP address (the identifier of a device connected to the Internet), a unique number relating to the Internet user, the specific page consulted, or even what the Internet user enters on his keyboard. . This information is used for advertising purposes: the company that has the tracking mechanism offered by a social network can, for example, then ask this same social network to show an advertisement for its products to Internet users who have already visited its site.