ByteDance and Tencent exploring new ways to bypass Apple’s new privacy rules

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The Financial Times reports that some of China’s biggest tech companies are testing a tool that will enable them to bypass Apple’s new privacy rules so they can continue to track iPhone users without their consent. Tjis, according to the report, will allow them to keep serving them targeted mobile ads.

Apple is already planning to enforce its App Tracking changes following the release of iOS 14.5, and any app that accesses an iPhone’s ad identifier or IDFA will be required to ask for a user’s permission before tracking is allowed.

The test is backed by the China Advertising Association, and could allow Chinese companies to continue keeping track of users. TikTok parent company ByteDance has already provided its developers with an 11-page guide suggesting that advertisers “use the CAID as a substitute if the user’s IDFA is unavailable.”

The CAA however, has told the Financial Times that the tool “does not stand in opposition to Apple’s privacy privacy policy” and that the association “is currently actively communicating with Apple.”

The App Store terms and guidelines apply equally to all developers around the world, including Apple,” Apple said while responding to a question by FT. “We believe strongly that users should be asked for their permission before being tracked. Apps that are found to disregard the user’s choice will be rejected.”

In Europe, TikTok is facing a new round of regulatory complaints in Europe. Consumer 

protection groups in Europe have filed a series of coordinated complaints where they alleged that TikTok breached multiple EU laws.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) lodged a complaint against the China-owned video-sharing app with the European Commission on the bloc’ network of consumer protection authorities. In the same vein, consumer organisations in 15 countries have alerted authorities in their countries, urging them to investigate TikTok’s conduct, BEUC said per TechCrunch.

Some of the complaints facing TikTok include claims of unfair terms such as copyright and TikTok’s virtual currency, issues bothering on the type of content children are being exposed to on the app, and accusations of misleading data processing and privacy practices.

TikTok is also being accused of failing to protect children and teens from hidden ads and “potentially harmful” content on its platform.

TikTok’s marketing offers to companies who want to advertise on the app contributes to the proliferation of hidden marketing. Users are for instance triggered to participate in branded hashtag challenges where they are encouraged to create content of specific products. As popular influencers are often the starting point of such challenges the commercial intent is usually masked for users. TikTok is also potentially failing to conduct due diligence when it comes to protecting children from inappropriate content such as videos showing suggestive content which are just a few scrolls away,” the BEUC stated in a press release per TechCrunch.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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