It’s no secret that TikTok has had its fair share of controversy in recent years. The hugely popular social media platform is expected to reach 84.9 million users in 2022, according to research by Statista.
TikTok users find themselves scrolling through the seemingly endless stream of short videos for hours, which is one of the reasons it has become so popular.
However, the app has also been criticized for collecting large amounts of user data, not being transparent about how it is shared, and not disclosing which third parties have access to it.
Recently, two studies showed that TikTok circumvented important privacy protections that essentially allow its parent company, ByteDance, full access to user data.
Here are the results of these two studies, how it affects TikTok users and what they can do to protect their privacy when using the app on their smartphones.
Two major studies certified by The Wrap
The envelopean entertainment outlet, recently confirmed the results of two studies that found TikTok can bypass security protections in the Google and Apple app stores.
This allows the app to have full access to user data. TikTok can avoid code audits on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, which is alarming.
Moreover, studies by cybersecurity experts whitehat have revealed that TikTok can change the behavior of the app as it pleases without letting users know about it. It can use device tracking to gain full access to user data, including sensitive information, such as demographic data.
Why is this important? These are important findings that show how TikTok works a little differently than most social media platforms in the United States. It even exceeds the capabilities of Facebook, Instagram and other apps.
Experts say the app’s code is difficult to monitor, but TikTok thinks its methods are standard. Russ Jowell, a mobile development expert at BestApp.com, thinks ByteDance has gone to great lengths to conceal the inner workings of TikTok.
These studies come as Millennials and Generation Z are spending more time than ever on their smartphones watching videos. In fact, 48% of millennials only watch videos on their mobile devices.
Overall, these two studies looked at TikTok’s source code and assessed how the app collects:
- Contact data
- Device reference
- Clipboard Actions
- Data masked when sent back and forth to TikTok’s servers
Although these studies are recent, this is not the first time that TikTok has been asked about its privacy, what it does with user data and the safety of people regarding their cybersecurity.
Is TikTok safe to use?
Unfortunately, there is no short answer to this question – TikTok is generally a safe app. Nevertheless, it tracks specific data that users may not like.
For example, TikTok will track which videos users watch and for how long. The content of your messages is also tracked, as well as the country location, IP address and device you are using.
TikTok may collect information about your exact location, phone contacts and other social media information, age, phone number, and even payment methods. This creates an image of you to support its ad targeting practices.
There are ways to protect your privacy while using TikTok, such as keeping your profile private, setting a strong password, using two-factor authentication, and disabling logging. of the password. Users can also upload their data and determine what information is collected.
To download data from TikTok, visit Profile, press the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner and visit the Private life section. From there, tap Download your data so what Request data.
A link to the information will appear within four days in this section. You can view the data that TikTok collects regularly.
However, your data will only be available for four days after the link appears.
TikTok and user privacy
These studies highlight how TikTok can avoid running code audits and accessing user data. Of course, whether or not to use the app is up to you, depending on what information you’re willing to share.
It would be wise to err on the side of caution and use cybersecurity best practices to protect yourself, no matter what social media apps you use.
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