TikTok tracks you even if you never made an account

Posted on Jan 25, 2021 by Caleb Chen
TikTok tracks you even if you never made an account

TikTok gathers information on users and shares it with third parties, even if you’ve never made a profile. VICE reporter Riccardo Coluccini – who has used the app but had never made a TikTok account before in his life – sent a GDPR request to TikTok to find out what information the social media giant had gathered on him. At first, TikTok tried to stonewall Coluccini by saying that:

“Unfortunately, we are unable to locate an account associated with the email address.”

However, TikTok’s privacy policy clearly states that they do track users without email addresses. The language looks like this, with TikTok granting itself the right to:

“collect certain information from you when you use the Platform including when you are using the app without an account.”

Finding out what TikTok knows about you

Eventually, TikTok fulfilled the GDPR request after Coluccini provided his IP address as well as his iOS device’s ID For Vendors unique identifier. Once he had his data, Coluccini noted just how much information was stored. Everything from IP address and other device fingerprinting information was stored down to what terms he searched, what videos he watched, and when. This data was synced with third parties such as Facebook, and the amount of data stored is quite large. Though, Colluccini notes that it’s similar to the data that Amazon stores, and any big tech app really.

For those that have made a TikTok profile, you can view the information that TikTok has gathered by requesting that data from TikTok.