TikTok Tracking Code Has Infected Many State Government Websites: REPORT
Trevor Schakohl on March 21, 2023
Tracking code created by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance Ltd. has been discovered in 30 state government websites, Feroot Security says, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This type tracking code, or “pixel” is commonly placed by website administrators to track the results of advertising on TikTok, the outlet reported. Using data gathered in January and February, Feroot Security revealed such pixels in 30 websites maintained by 27 states, some of which have banned TikTok from their government networks and devices.
Feroot Security chief executive Ivan Tsarynny told the WSJ that TikTok pixels “can be watching and recording you when you’re renewing your driver’s license, paying your taxes or filling out doctors’ forms,” urging state governments to erase the code from their websites. Maryland and Utah scrubbed TikTok pixels from Maryland Department of Health COVID-19 website and a Utah government job seeker assistance website after the outlet contacted both states.
“Like other platforms, the data we receive from advertisers is used to improve the effectiveness of our advertising services,” a TikTok spokeswoman said in a statement, according to the WSJ. “Our terms instruct advertisers not to share certain data with us, and we continuously work with our partners to avoid inadvertent transmission of such data.”
The White House announced a ban on TikTok from all federal employee devices in January, according to Reuters, and a TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation earlier this month that the U.S. Treasury Department demanded that ByteDance divest from the app. Feroot Security recently released a report saying TikTok can mine data from and track people who never used the app, according to Fox News.
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