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7 Feb 2023

Access Now

Access Now asks TikTok to disclose privacy protections for its ‘Focused View' feature

"Privacy first: TikTok’s “Focused View” needs immediate review", 7 February 2023

TikTok’s new “Focused View” feature could be jeopardising the human rights of 200 million people who use its services. In an open letter to TikTok, Access Now is demanding the company clarifies how it applies EU laws and human rights safeguards when using this feature and for key documents to be made public.

“For TikTok’s new ‘Focused View’ to function the way the company claims, the habits, affects, and personal interactions of people on the platform must be tracked and dissected,” said Estelle Massé, Global Data Protection Lead at Access Now. “This is not only an invasion of privacy, but is opening the gate for dystopian claims of invasive-emotion detection — both incredibly frightening, and often unscientific.”

Launched in October 2022, the social media giant’s new feature offers a “pay if users engage” option for advertisers, purporting to broadcast to platform subscribers who are “truly paying attention” and are “being emotionally and tangibly engaged.” Brands pay only if their advertisement is “voluntarily” viewed for six seconds or more. Extracting such specific information from people on TikTok raises alarming red flags around the company’s compliance and understanding of privacy, data protection, misleading advertising, and upcoming AI rules in Europe. 


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