TikTok Ban – The Alarming Truth about TikTok’s Privacy Policy

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Tiktok ban update: after his remarks on Capitol Hill failed to allay bipartisan concerns about potential data privacy issues and Chinese government intrusion, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony from last week increased the likelihood that Congress will take some action on the enormously popular social media app.

TikTok Ban – Forced Sale or Outright Ban

The Chinese TikTok app will either be prohibited by law or forced to be sold by its Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company.

Chinese officials have said they will oppose a sale and have called such proposals unfair and overreaching. The scrutiny’s detractors claim that similar social media platforms haven’t been subject to it.

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short-form videos with a variety of audio and visual effects. It was launched by the Chinese company ByteDance in 2016 and has since become a popular platform for people to showcase their creativity and express themselves through dance, comedy, lip-syncing, and other forms of entertainment. TikTok has a massive user base worldwide, with over 1 billion monthly active users.

TikTok Ban – Privacy Policy

TikTok’s privacy policy is driving much of the desire to ban the app. There isn’t much transparency in TikTok’s privacy policy, which few people actually read. The document is too lengthy to list here, but the information it gathers should serve as a warning.

The privacy guidelines for TikTok contain a few interesting and unsettling points. This data consists of your location, information copied to your clipboard, contact information, website tracking, all the data you post on the app, and any messages you send through it. According to the company, US users’ GPS data is not collected by the app’s current iterations. There have been rumors that TikTok is gathering additional data, but this is difficult to confirm.

TikTok Ban – Chinese Government Has Data On 150 Million US Users

tiktok ban

The TikTok ban is being pushed because the privacy policy doesn’t stop the Chinese government from having access to US citizens data. There are 150 million US users of TikTok whose data is accessible to the Chinese government. Similar to how US businesses share marketing data, the Chinese government could share information with other Chinese businesses to aid in their financial success. Data is power, and the Chinese government is known for playing the long game, so if it is gathering data, it might take years to figure out how it benefits China. The Chinese government could potentially spy on US citizens, especially those with access to important information. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is being looked into by the Justice Department for using the app to snoop on US journalists. The Chinese government has a long history of hacking US government institutions and businesses, and a large portion of those hacks was made possible by social engineering, the technique of using information about people to deceive them into divulging more information.

TikTok Ban – Algorithm Bias

Algorithm bias or algorithm manipulation is a different issue that the US government has brought up to push a TikTok ban. Algorithms in TikTok and the majority of social media apps are made to discover a user’s interests and then attempt to tailor the content so that the user will keep using the app. Because TikTok hasn’t disclosed its algorithm, it’s unclear how the app selects a user’s content.

The algorithm may be biased in a way that leads people to believe particular things, similar to how search and social media corporations in the US have manipulated algorithms to favor democrat party candidates and narratives. There are many claims that TiKTok’s algorithm is prejudiced, can reinforce negative thoughts in younger users, and can be used to sway public opinion. Although there is worry that the Chinese government has used or might use the algorithm to influence people, it is possible that the algorithm’s manipulative behavior is unintentional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is TikTok a publicly traded company?

No, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a privately held company. There are plans to go public in the near future.

Why is TikTok getting banned?

The reasons for the potential banning of TikTok in various countries includes concerns over data privacy, national security, and content that promotes China narratives.

What countries have banned TikTok?

Government phones cannot access TikTok, according to the US, the UK, the EU, and other countries. Governments in the West are concerned that Chinese authorities could compel ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to hand over information about users from other countries or to promote propaganda in favor of China.

What is TikTok’s privacy policy?

TikTok’s privacy policy states that they collect a variety of information from their users, including:
Information you provide directly, such as your username, password, email address, and phone number
Information from your device, such as your IP address, device type, and operating system
Information from your use of the app, such as your search queries, videos you watch, and interactions with other users
Information from third-party sources, such as advertisers and social media platforms

TikTok uses this information for a variety of purposes, including to provide and improve the app, personalize content and advertising, and conduct research and analytics. They may also share your information with third-party service providers and business partners, as well as with law enforcement or government officials if required by law.

TikTok states that they take measures to protect the security and confidentiality of user information, but users should be aware that no security measures are completely foolproof. TikTok also allows users to control certain aspects of their privacy settings, such as who can see their videos and comments, and how their data is used for advertising purposes.
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