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The Italian privacy regulator (Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, “GPDP“) has a clear message for TikTok: the use of users’ personal data for profiling and personalised advertising is only allowed with the consent of the TikTok user.

TikTok recently announced changes to its privacy policy. It informed its users that persons over 18 years of age would receive “personalised” ads as of 13 July 2022. This personalisation takes place on the basis of profiling the behaviour of users when they use TikTok. The basis for this processing of personal data would, according to TikTok, no longer be the consent of the user themselves, but vaguely defined “legitimate interests” of Tik Tok and its partners.

The GPDP now concludes that the change of legal basis is incompatible with European privacy rules. These explicitly state that this requires the user’s consent. The GPDP is also seriously concerned about the lack of protection for underage users. According to the GPDP TikTok has problems with correctly determining the age of the user. As a result, there is a risk that “personalised” ads with inappropriate content are shown to very young users.

TikTok has announced that it is pausing the introduction of the part of our privacy policy update that relates to the the rollout of the personalised ads.

The full press release of the GPDP can be read here. The position of the GPDP is in line with the proceedings TBYP is taking against TikTok. On 10 October 2022 the first hearing in these proceedings will take place. You can still register your child for our action via the website of the Dutch Consumers’ Association.