TikTok entered the year with one big step forward and took three steps backward. Three countries have already addressed its concerns on the Chinese app created by ByteDance, one of which actually banned it (India) while Australia and the US seem like they are about to do the same.
This is no good news for the video-sharing company since it was reported earlier this week that their loss could reach up to $6 billion. Unfortunately, TikTok continues to pose plenty of security concerns and all three of the countries mentioned have their own political tensions against China.
What Are the Red Flags?
Dangerous Challenges, People, and Racist Remarks
TikTok has attracted many creative people around the world, but it attracted people who are up to no good as well. Unfortunately, the dangerous videos and challenges – like the “skullbreaker challenge” – aren’t immediately taken down. Some older men even used the app to message girls under 13. And then there are those videos that discriminate people of color, LGBTQ+, and the disabled that continue to replicate. In TikTok’s defense, it isn’t entirely the app’s fault but the users who do “stupid things” – which honestly is the bigger picture here. An app can contribute but can’t purely control how a child (or even an adult) act. Later, TikTok announced that they have updated the privacy of their app and added a feature that connects family members’ accounts.
Continuous Security Concerns
TikTok did not just make headlines due to data privacy once – it made quite a lot. This is quite common for an app that took only a few years to become viral and be a competition against social media giants.
It was reported that TikTok was caught by Apple snooping around and when experts dug a little deeper, it showed loopholes on the app’s approach on protecting a user’s privacy.
In February, TikTok was fined in the USA for collecting personal information from minors. ByteDance responded, saying the information saved on the app is secure.
What the headlines often skip is that TikTok isn’t the only app that has a vulnerability. Other apps were also guilty of having loopholes in their systems. Additionally, there’s no immediate proof that TikTok is an actual electronic spyware yet.
There’s the benefit of the doubt that the app simply isn’t just as perfect as people would want it to be, but its origins do contribute to why people distrust the app.