TikTok burst onto the scene shortly before the covid-19 pandemic but became popular during the global lockdown. Like other apps that shot to popularity quickly, like FaceApp, TikTok has taken some hits regarding its privacy issues. Some US politicians even went so far as to call the app a severe threat to national security. This led to many government businesses demanding that workers delete the app from their work devices. There were even discussions about bringing in legislation to ban TikTok from the US. But is there a real threat in using TikTok?
This article will explore how apps like TikTok and FaceApp use your data and potential concerns. We’ll also be looking at ways to stay safe, even while using these apps. Some precautions include using datacenter proxies from providers like Smartproxy and ensuring your accounts are private. Keep reading to find out if you should be concerned about using TikTok and how to protect yourself.
How Is Your Data Treated?
One of the US government’s main concerns with TikTok is that it’s a Chinese-owned app. There was a fear that the app could be collecting valuable personal information and other forms of intel and selling it to the Chinese communist party. This is a particular concern when users install the app on government-owned devices.
The bank, Wells Fargo, was one of the US businesses that demanded that employees delete the TikTok app from work devices. Setting aside the fact that it should probably be company policy not to install social media or other personal apps on work devices, what was the big concern over this single app?
TikTok has also been under investigation numerous times for collecting biometric data of underage users without their permission. TikTok owners ByteDance Ltd. had to pay a fine of $92 million to settle this class action lawsuit.
The popular photo-ageing app, FaceApp, faced similar accusations. Since the owning company is in Russia, there was a concern that the app could be collecting photos and personal details for nefarious purposes. Similar to TikTok, FaceApp was labelled as a serious counterintelligence threat.
Should You Be Concerned?
While there is a genuine privacy concern that users need to be aware of, TikTok isn’t the only app collecting your data. There is no evidence supporting the claims that either TikTok or FaceApp are selling the collected data for nefarious purposes.
Many apps, especially social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., also collect your data and access your personal details. These social media platforms have also been in the spotlight for potential privacy concerns; however, they haven’t received the same amount of scrutiny as these foreign-owned apps.
The truth is that TikTok is no more of a threat than other social media platforms. But since these platforms still pose a potential risk to your privacy, whether that’s from data breaches, data hacks or information selling, it’s important to protect your privacy.
How To Stay Safe While Using These Apps?
There are a few different ways to protect your privacy and stay safe even while using popular social media apps like TikTok and FaceApp. Here are some of the precautions you can take.
The best way to protect your data from being tracked across different platforms is to use a proxy. Datacenter proxies can help disguise your IP address and protect your browsing activities. However, datacenter proxies aren’t your only option when it comes to proxies. There are many different proxies depending on your needs.
Another precaution that may seem obvious but often gets forgotten is not to share too much personal information. Many people use these social media platforms as a personal diary. Experts advise against this as it can be a good way for unsavoury characters to collect your personal information, which can be used to guess passwords and security questions. As such, it’s wise to be careful about the type of information you share on these platforms.
Make Your Account Private
Many social media platforms, by default, set your account to public. However, this can be risky as it means anyone can see your details, photos, videos and more. Web scrapers can also legally collect your data for marketing purposes if your account is set to public. Experts recommend setting your accounts to private to keep strangers from seeing your data.
Don’t Allow Your Account To Be Suggested
TikTok specifically has an option within your settings labelled ‘Allow My Account to be Suggested.’ While many influencers like using this option to get their content out to a broader audience, you may not need this feature enabled if you’re using the app for personal reasons.
Don’t Let Strangers Interact With You
Finally, don’t let strangers interact, friend or follow you. There is a chance that these accounts are fake or used by individuals who aim to collect personal data. As such, only interact with people you know.
Many apps that we use have the potential to become privacy concerns. As such, it’s essential to start taking precautions to protect yourself even before these become actual threats. Using datacenter proxies and setting your account to private are a few measures you can take to protect your privacy.