TikTok has been making headlines because of the controversy surrounding TikTok data collection methods. The Chinese-owned app has been under scrutiny since White House officials in the United States labeled the app a national security risk.
The US was initially set to ban downloads of the app. But President Trump decided to support a deal that would give an American company rights to the app’s operations in the US.
The deal involves Oracle and WalMart joining together to create a new company. The new company will host all US user data on servers in America. And have the right to inspect TikTok’s source code.
President Trump and TikTok have agreed to the new arrangement, but nothing is official. Other Chinese-owned companies, such as Huawei, have also raised concerns about national security. But critics believe these are false allegations intended to give the Trump administration access to the Chinese companies.
Potential TikTok Data Risks
Concerns about TikTok data collections haven’t only come from the US government. Politicians and rival social media platforms have also raised concerns of data risks presented by TikTok.
There have been claims that the app is really a data collection service. And that its appearance of being a social network is deceitful. However, critics wonder if the claims are accurate. Some believe the company is being targeted simply because it’s a Chinese company.
All social media platforms collect user data. And upon close inspection, it seems that TikTok collects the same data as other social media platforms.
Here are some TikTok data collection facts that make some people question their methods.
For some, this is an invasion of privacy. But it’s worth noting that Facebook does the same thing by analyzing private message content in order to send targeted advertisements to users.
- TikTok tracks user keystrokes. Basically, the app makes note of what users touch, and how they touch, the screen. This makes it possible for the app to identify people based on how they type or swipe the screen.
- TikTok collects data about how user’s access the app. Cell phones and tablets provide a lot of information when a user is on TikTok. The information collected includes the user’s IP address, the device model, the mobile carrier, operating system, and time zone.
It might sound like an invasion of privacy, but other apps collect the same data. And much of it is necessary to help the app perform well.
- TikTok collects user contacts. The app collects data stored in user’s phone books and from other linked social network platforms. The app requests permission to collect this data, but only asks the main account holder. So anyone else using the device will have their data collected as well, even if they haven’t given consent.
However, this type of data collection is used by several other social networking platforms.
TikTok Collects Data Like Other Social Media Networks
None of the app’s data collection methods are unique or unusual. But because of the app’s connection to China, there is concern over its ability to learn so much about users in the United States.
The main concern is that the Chinese government could potentially use or manipulate the data for political purposes. However, there’s currently no proof that any social media company – Chinese or otherwise – is using data for political purposes.