TikTok is accused of breaching user privacy by selling advertisements based on their emotions

ByteDance’s TikTok, since its release in 2016, has found itself strangled in several controversies. The Chinese app recently got banned in several U.S. states; the short video platform is now facing difficulties in Europe.

The app has been accused by AccessNow, an organization for digital human rights, of initiating emotion-tracking advertisements. In the third quarter of 2022, TikTok rolled out its Focused View feature, which can judge the emotional stage of the user. The data would then be used to analyze the impact of the ads based on eye movement and heart rate. The human rights organization has raised its voice by saying that the feature breaches users’ privacy.

Meanwhile, TikTok has announced that advertisements will be displayed in front of viewers who would be giving full attention, and advertising brands will be paying for ads that were either viewed by the users for a minimum of 6 seconds or were able to get a response within 6 seconds.

According to AccessNow, the platform’s claims of targeting ads based on emotions are doubtful, and the company hasn’t shared insight on how the feature of reading emotions works. While many experts have already rejected the feature by referring to it as incompatible with the scientific method, AccessNow has shared concerns about the validity of such features and their use merely for targeting advertisements.

The organization further added that even if the company is given the benefit of the doubt, the whole idea itself is a threat to users’ privacy. Collecting emotional data, including attention span and attention level, while viewing an ad is a breach of privacy. The state of their emotions is connected with personal freedom and stateliness. People consider them personal and prefer keeping them safe and protected. TikTok’s Focused View feature violates it and has become a privacy threat for over two hundred million European users.

It is not the first time that TikTok has been accused; the app got itself in trouble when it was prosecuted for hosting a spying campaign to collect data from the West. It was also suspected of targeting the data of young users excessively.

Read next: TikTok Beats YouTube By Huge Margin Again As Favorite App For Kids And Teens
Previous Post Next Post