TikTok delays changes to privacy policy on targeted ads in Europe

(Reuters) – TikTok is suspending privacy policy changes relating to how it targets advertising at users after a warning in Italy that it risked breaching European Union rules. 

TikTok had told users in recent weeks that it was going to deliver targeted advertising to them from July 13, without requesting consent for using data stored in their devices, Italy’s data protection authority said.

“While we engage on the questions from stakeholders about our proposed personalised advertising changes in Europe, we are pausing the introduction of that part of our privacy policy update,” a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The Italian watchdog warned that it was reserving the right to impose unspecified restrictions should TikTok, the video-sharing app which has achieved rapid worldwide growth, not withdraw its announced policy changes.

TikTok also defended its plans for targeted advertising.

“We believe that personalised advertising provides the best in-app experience for our community and brings us in line with industry practices, and we look forward to engaging with stakeholders and addressing their concerns,” the spokesperson added.

The Italian watchdog has also informed Ireland’s Data Protection Commission of TikTok’s alleged breaches of EU data rules. The Irish body is the lead EU regulator for TikTok and other leading internet businesses.

Companies operating in the EU can face fines of up to 4% of their global revenue for privacy breaches.

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