Alarming security and privacy risks for TikTok users have caught the attention of US authorities.
First, TikTok is owned by Chinese mega-unicorn Bytedance. And they collect a LOT of data on users. It has become a very profitable business for them, with $17 billion of revenue last year!
As you might expect, they have your search and browsing history and the messages and videos you post on the app. But there's much more than that collected.
If you opt in, TikTok says it can collect your phone and social-network contacts, your GPS position and your personal information such as age and phone number along with any user-generated content you post, such as photos and videos.
So basically, they know who you are, where you are, who your friends are... and a lot more.
TikTok also gets a sense of what makes you tick. It can track the videos you like, share, watch all the way through and re-watch.
Yes, other social media platforms collect a lot of data on their users - looking at you, Facebook and Twitter. But the Chinese have a "reputation for grabbing more data than required" for making your app experience delightful.
“If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray
And unfortunately, the same might go for children too. All in, US officials have vocalized concerns that the Chinese government has nefarious plans for our data.
U.S. officials are concerned that the Chinese government is potentially building a vast database of information that could be used for espionage.
So yes, you can delete TikTok. But you also have to request that the company delete your data. They have committed to responding to these requests "in a manner consistent with applicable law upon verifying your identity."
Your privacy and security matter.
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