Is It Time to Abandon TikTok Over Privacy Concerns?

Is It Time to Abandon TikTok Over Privacy Concerns?

Personal information is the modern gold. By using free software, you have actually become the product, not the client, but what do apps actually make behind the curtain? Here's a look at what TikTok does.

It is no secret that software company giants are collecting personal data. A recent scandal with the collaboration between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica showed us that personal information on your devices is not safe at all. That opens concern about new markets for alternative applications such as TikTok, software by Chinese start-up company ByteDance that has become one of the most downloaded apps. Recently a Reddit user by the name of "bangorlol" said that they have reverse-engineered TikTok, which revealed that the personal information Facebook collects "seems nothing" compared to what the Chinese application processes. They also claim that this is one of the reasons why this software drains your battery quite fast. The user states they reverse-engineer applications for a living. This is some of the information the application allegedly sends over network to ByteDance's servers:

  • Information about your phone contacts.
  • Your phone's type, disk space, etc.
  • Information about what other applications you have installed on the device.
  • Information about your network (IP, MAC addresses, Wi-Fi access point name), which is a source for your approximate location as well.
  • The app may check your GPS coordinates every 30 seconds or so (location tracking).
  • And now the scariest part: the amount of information they can get from your device can be configured remotely (by programmers), which means some may be more spied on than others.

According to the software engineer, this application is a serious threat to your privacy. Some countries have already banned the application from their internet space. Do you think you should be worried if these findings are true?

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9 Comments

Eric Doggett's picture

Not having feelings one way or another towards this app (other than my son uses it too much :)). But I’m curious - where is Apple on all of this? Surely they would know rbis was going on and would shut the app down before any government agency got involved?

Vladimir Vcelar's picture

Not so much for privacy concerns as for the whackjobs present!

David J. Fulde's picture

Here's my argument: Keep it or delete it... But if you are afraid of Tiktok you better be afraid of Facebook and Google too

Deleted Account's picture

The CCP can access any of the data held on Chinese servers.

Teresa Oldenbourg's picture

The fact that it is popularized by half naked underage kids, should have been enough for any adult not to have an account.

Robert Edwardes's picture

The app never felt like a thing i need to use since none of the people i follow for marketing was talking about it, and no one has really written how to use it and what kind of content works best like there is for every major platform.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

Tiktok or Instagram or Facebook or Whatsapp or Twitter or Google, Amazon, Oracle or Apple or Microsoft - all of them are a threat to our privacy. It doesn't matter where these come from - do you trust a private company with your data. I do not, never ever.

Domeyko Photography's picture

I utilize an iPod touch from 2013 for apps (instagram, twitter, dji osmo). The iPod does not contain any contacts, emails or other personal information. WRT the companies who continually vacuum up and then sell your data, I am thankful that Apple leads the way in preventing this. Tik-Tok: I can't help but think about the Netflix show "The Dark" every time I hear this app name.

Brenda Rooney's picture

There are so many apps that are spying on you nowadays! It's absolutely crazy. I've read a great article about spyware https://iortly.com/mspy/ here. Check it out if you want.