Saturday, June 22, 2024

Booming Chinese shopping app faces Western scrutiny over data security

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Starting in the U.S. in September 2022, the app recently expanded to nine EU countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, and the U.K. in April. It is now also present in Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg and Slovakia, according to its website.

Temu has been downloaded globally over 50 million times on Google. It also ranked as the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store in Belgium, France, Italy, Germany and Portugal as of July 8, according to tracking website SimilarWeb, and was the second most downloaded app on the Apple app store in the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. 

It was also the most downloaded app on the Google Play Store in Belgium, Portugal, Ireland and Sweden, according to SimilarWeb.

But Temu’s rise has also raised questions. Its seemingly hemorrhaging business model has analysts questioning its business practices. Its data security policies also triggered interventions by the world’s biggest app stores.

Google in March suspended Temu’s Chinese sister platform Pinduoduo from its app store after it found malicious software in versions of the Chinese app. 

Responding to POLITICO’s questions, Apple said Temu previously violated the company’s mandatory privacy rules. It said it had found that Temu misled people about how it uses their data. Temu’s so-called privacy nutrition labels — descriptions about the types of data an app can access, how it does so and what it uses them for — did not accurately reflect its privacy policy, said Apple. Temu also isn’t letting users choose not to be tracked on the internet. 

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