Now, TikTok was reached to give further explanations on this topic, you know, to really understand the changes that are coming in the “Image and Audio information” section. But, unfortunately, TikTok didn’t specify which of its product developments needed the addition of biometric data to the information it automatically collects from its users. However, it did say that it would ask for consent in the case recollection practices began.
The app already collects tons of information from its users, but it will start to use these new changes to identify 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.” But this is used to power accessibility features for describing what’s in your feed, as well as for ad targeting purposes. It will also collect “special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations,” but this is something already done by other apps.
However, the part that may trouble its users is the one saying that: “We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.”
This change doesn’t mention if it’s considering federal law or state laws, nor does it explain why TikTok needs this information. Now, the app representatives have to make things clear before getting in trouble in several states with biometric privacy laws. If not, they could get into another class-action lawsuit and remember that it currently reached a $92 million settlement for the social media app’s violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. And don’t forget that TikTok was considered to be a ‘national security threat’ under Trump’s administration, and we have yet to see what the current administration thinks about this app.