National Security

Media Statement | AUDIT: Major Brands Abandon TikTok Surveillance Tool

January 15, 2024


Senator James Paterson

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs

Shadow Minister for Cyber Security

Liberal Senator for Victoria

Monday 15 January 2024


A new audit has revealed major Australian companies and organisations have deleted controversial tracking code from TikTok following revelations it may be unlawfully breaching the privacy of Australians.

After media reports in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald and an announcement by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner they were conducting an inquiry into TikTok, I wrote to some of Australia’s most popular website operators who had been identified using the TikTok pixel to ask whether they continued to do so.

I’m very pleased with the proactive steps taken to protect the privacy of their customers by major Australian companies including Network 10, Bunnings, Vodafone, Mitre10, Total Tools and Nimble, all of whom have ceased using the pixel.

In addition, government sponsored tourism organisations including Tourism NT, Tourism Tasmania and Tourism Queensland have also axed TikTok’s data harvesting.

So have not for profit organisations including Headspace, Beyond Blue and Western Sydney University.

Regrettably, some organisations are persisting in their use of TikTok’s product despite the serious privacy risk to their website users, including Woolworths, Kmart, Sportsbet, Ladbrokes and the University of Wollongong.

Visitors to the AFL website remain in the dark as they failed to respond by deadline about whether they still use the pixel.

Every Australian company is now on notice: follow the lead of organisations who respect the privacy of their website visitors and stop using TikTok’s pixel, or run the risk they are participating in an unlawful mass breach of Australians’ privacy in partnership with a company beholden to a foreign authoritarian government.

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