Western governments banning the hugely popular app from their employees’ phones and starting investigations into its data collecting tactics appear to be one of the biggest TikTok trends at the moment.
Last week, Canada joined the United States and the European Union in banning the social media app on smartphones that are provided by the government. Similar prohibitions are being considered by other Canadian institutions and jurisdictions.
The action was taken shortly after the federal privacy agency announced that it, along with three provinces, will look into whether TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, which is based in China, are in compliance with Canadian privacy rules.
But, the majority of TikTok users in this nation aren’t government workers, and they’ll continue to provide the app access to their personal information with each video they view, like, or comment on — even if they aren’t using the app.
While almost other social media platforms collect and keep user data, some cybersecurity experts are more concerned with TikTok’s data collection practises due to concerns that the Chinese government may have access to it.
What TikTok learns about you
The moment the app is downloaded and launched on your tablet or smartphone, it begins to learn a lot about you.
The lengthy terms of service outline everything you’re agreeing to, including access to personal data like contacts and calendars as well as details about the device, operating system, and location you’re using.
TikTok tracks the content you interact with and for how long, just like other platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Yet in accordance with those agreements, TikTok also keeps track of your device’s usage and functionality, including your typing rhythms and patterns, battery life, audio settings, and attached audio devices.
The “the objects and scenery that appear [in your videos], the existence and location within an image of face and body features … and the text of the words spoken.” are other things it can recognize.
Such analytics are used by social media companies to sell advertising, create new programmes, and adapt content to user preferences.
But, Robert Potter, the co-founder and co-CEO of the cybersecurity company Internet 2.0 in Canberra, claims that TikTok isn’t entirely open with its more than 1.5 billion members.