TikTok is the number one social network. Not only because of the volume of traffic, but also because it is the social network that shares the most data from its users with third parties.
This is demonstrated by a new study carried out by the URL Genius consulting firm that has monitored the tracking carried out by iOS apps and for what purpose they carry out this tracking.
The research indicates that YouTube is the app that collects the most information from its users, but 71% of this data is used internally to, for example, improve its content recommendation system or offer personalized advertising .
However, TikTok follows closely behind. It collects the same amount of information as YouTube, but it is the one that shares the most information with third parties.
This information that TikTok collects and shares can be from the number of publications with which the user interacts, the type of content they see, their geographical location or their personal data registered in the app.
What happens next with that data, and what is it used for? It’s hard to know, since users currently don’t have access to this information, the researchers say.
In addition, users do not have the possibility to deactivate possible trackers: they only have the option to use the application or not.
The study has been prepared after the implementation of the new Apple tool, Record App Activity, in its iOS 15.2 systems, which allows the user to know which applications communicate with other domains.
The main social media networks share 60% of the information they collect with third parties and the remaining 40% are used internally, according to the research.
As mentioned at the beginning, YouTube is number 1, although most of these connections are internal with platforms and domains that belong to YouTube. to Google, its parent company, for advertising purposes.
YouTube and TikTok are followed by Twitter and Telegram. Other social networks such as Instagram or Facebook are in the sixth and seventh position of this ranking on user tracking.
Beyond this investigation, TikTok’s history with privacy problems and the opacity with which it uses its users’ data goes back a long way.
TikTok has a problem with the data
The spectacular growth of the social network has gone hand in hand with countless controversies; from its addictive content, to its opaque algorithm, to the privacy of its users.
In fact, one of the main concerns has been just that; Where does the data it collects from its users end up?
The main suspicion is that the app shared this data from its European and American users with China, where its parent company ByteDance is based, although for what purposes is unknown.
The company has reiterated on several occasions that this does not happen, much less that the Chinese government of Xi Jiping can have access to information from its users.
Roland Cloutier, global director of Security (CSO ) of the company assured Business Insider Spain a few months ago that its data centers are in the US and Singapore. “In fact, TikTok is not even available in China”, he commented.
However, despite the resounding statement, Cloutier did not specify whether Chinese engineers could really have access data from Western users, something that Business Insider journalist Chris Stokel-Walker has pointed out on many occasions.
The main challenge for most of these applications is Now to develop new tools that allow them to reach more customers and users, complying with privacy and transparency requirements.
This article was published in Business Insider Spain by Lucas Gª Alcalde.