“We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio and the text of the words spoken in your User Content. We may collect this information to enable special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations and for other non-personally-identifying operations.”
Other social media apps and websites already conduct object recognition on images their users upload. These processes are supposedly done to power accessibility features, such as helping an app recognize what is in a photo somebody uploads. These object recognition processes are also usually done for ad targeting purposes.
Other than stating that it may collect “faceprints and voiceprints,” TikTok refused to clearly define the exact nature of the biometrics it will collect. It has also refused to answer why this policy change was made nor offer any convincing reason why a social media app like itself has to collect such intimate data from its users.
TikTok’s emphasis on only asking for permission to collect user data “where required by law” is potentially very dangerous. Only a handful of states – Washington, Texas, New York, Illinois and California – have laws that restrict how much biometric data companies are allowed to collect. (Related: Big tech supporting and writing privacy legislation in multiple states to preempt passage of stronger privacy laws.)
This could mean that, for users not from the above-mentioned states, users are already consenting to have their biometric data collected by simply agreeing to TikTok’s terms of service.
Learn more about how social media giants like TikTok force users to willingly give it their data by reading the latest articles at PrivacyWatch.news.