TikTok to suspend controversial ‘personalized’ advertising in Europe


Popular Chinese short video platform, TikTok has been at the hub of a couple of controversies in the industry. However, the company does its best to hold on to its own. According to reports, TikTok has finally agreed to suspend an update initially scheduled for tomorrow. The company will suspend the ‘personalized’ advertising in Europe due to the controversies surrounding the update. There is controversy over the privacy policy in Europe. This means the platform no longer requires users to agree to be tracked in order to receive targeted advertising.

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The EU’s main regulator is studying whether the amendments comply with EU data protection rules. Italy’s data protection watchdog issued an official warning to TikTok yesterday. The Italian watchdog said the planned switch, from asking users’ consent to run “personalized” ads, to claiming that it could be based on a “legitimate interest” would violate the country’s Electronic Privacy Directive. The watchdog claims that in its view, it also violates the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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‘Personalized’ advertising in Europe may violate several laws

Under EU law, for a legitimate interest to be a valid legal basis for processing personal data, the data processor must conduct a series of tests to assess whether there is a legitimate purpose for the processing. Furthermore, it must also consider the rights and freedoms of individuals whose information will relate. Thus, it will be a huge task for TikTok to use legitimate interests to run behavioural advertising.

Italian regulators have notified the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) of TikTok’s possible breach of EU data rules. TikTok has now agreed to put the change on hold for the DPC to analyze. It adds that the issue is with all other data regulators in the EU’s 27 member states.

Read Also:  TikTok returns to the Indonesian market

Separately, privacy experts questions the appropriateness of TikTok’s behavioural advertising. However, TikTok still defends its advertising program, saying: “We believe that personalized advertising provides the best in-app experience for our community, are committed to respecting the privacy of our users, be transparent about our privacy practices, and comply with all relevant regulations.”

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