YouTube and TikTok are the apps that track and collect the most user data than any other platform, at least according to research from URL Genius.
Research conducted by URL Genius uses the Record App Activity feature on the iPhone. Quoted from CNBC on Sunday (13/2/2022), this feature is able to count how many different domains track user activity in the application during 1 visit or before the user logs into the account.
The number of applications studied are 10 social media applications that are widely used by smartphone users.
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The ten applications studied were YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Telegram, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp.
As a result, YouTube and TikTok are highly user-tracking and data-gathering apps with a total of 14 network contacts, much higher than the average for other apps with just 6 network contacts.
URL Genius also states that YouTube's 10 network contacts are first-party networks meaning the platform collects user activity data for its own purposes.
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YouTube uses it to track users' online search history or location, as well as to serve them relevant ads.
Meanwhile, 4 network contacts are from third-party domains. This means that the Google-owned platform allows a handful of outsiders to collect information and track user activity.
With third party trackers, it is basically impossible to know who is tracking user data or what information is being collected. In addition, third-party trackers can track user activity on other sites even after the user leaves the app.
“Consumers are currently unable to see what data is shared with third-party networks or how their data will be used,” the report said.
An even more surprising result came from TikTok, as the app, which tracks and collects user data a lot, has 13 of the network's 14 contacts coming from third parties. Even third-party tracking still occurs when the user doesn't choose to allow tracking in every app's settings.
This fact is quite surprising, unfortunately YouTube and TikTok have not responded to the research conducted by URL Genius.