In violation of Android policies, TikTok collected device identifiers for over a year

Social media news

TikTok’s Android app collected users’ MAC addresses for 18 months in violation of the platform rules, as discovered by a Wall Street Journal investigation. The addresses would have served as a unique identifier for each user’s device, making them valuable for both advertising and potentially more invasive forms of tracking. By 2015, both iOS’s App Store and the Google Play Store had banned the collection of MAC addresses as a matter of policy, but TikTok was still able to obtain the identifier through a loophole. A study cited by the Journal found that nearly 350 apps on the Google Play Store had taken advantage of a similar loophole, generally for ad-targeting purposes. TikTok discontinued the practice in November of last year, a shift in policy the Journal attributes to mounting political pressure from Washington. The company is currently in talks with Microsoft, but it is unclear how far the deal will proceed. The Journal findings cut against the best argument in TikTok’s defense, that the system doesn’t collect any more data than a standard mobile app. While most often used for ad tracking, collecting MAC addresses is among the more invasive forms of the practice.

Facebook is seriously thinking on becoming your go-to for mobile payments

Facebook is aiming for a more cohesive strategy around digital payments with the formation of a new division, Facebook Financial, that “will run all payments projects, including Facebook Pay,” according to Bloomberg. The unit is led by seasoned Facebook executive David Marcus, who was formerly in charge of Messenger before moving on to focus on the company’s block chain efforts. Facebook Pay lets you send money to friends/family or purchase goods across Facebook’s software platforms. In the US, it can be used in Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, though elsewhere in the world it’s still largely limited to the core Facebook app. Keeping Facebook users inside those apps for payments, rather than having them slip out to use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, or other digital currency platforms, will help the company’s advertising bottom line. “As payments grow across Messenger and WhatsApp, and as we’re able to roll that out in more places, I think that that will only grow as a trend,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, according to MarketWatch. Facebook hasn’t made any official announcement for Facebook Financial, but it continues the company’s pursuit of a more cohesive experience centered around the Facebook brand.