TikTok has begun rolling out notifications to users letting them know that they will soon see personalized ads “based on what you do on TikTok.”
The message tells TikTok users that their ad settings will automatically be changed in order to serve them advertisements based on what they watch on the platform instead of just showing “general” ads. The company will make the switch on April 15.
Personalized advertisements are ads served to users based on their TikTok data. Third-party advertisers can use this data to target users that they think will buy their products.
The notification popping up on users’ screens has already confused some people, however.
TikTok users will still be able to switch back to general ads if they want to. “You still have control over whether ads can be more tailored to you based on data from our advertising partners,” reads the notification.
TikTok is basically making personalized ads the default and users will need to opt out by making the settings change themselves. Personalized advertisements are, in fact, already available for users if they opt in.
To opt in to personalized ads now, or opt out when the settings automatically change on April 15, TikTok fans simply need to click the upper right hand Settings button on their profile page and click “Privacy” under the Account section. Users can then tap on the “Personalization and data” option and toggle “Personalized ads” on or off.
"TikTok is committed to both respecting user privacy and building a personalized experience that enables meaningful connection between businesses and users," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to Mashable. "We will continue to be transparent about our data privacy practices and help users understand their privacy choices on our Safety Center."
The option to make personalized ads the default will likely receive some blowback from privacy experts and consumer rights advocates. The company has recently been accused by a consumer group in the EU of targeting “hidden ads” at children based on their user data.