TikTok Collecting Similar Data to Meta, Twitter, Snap

TikTok Collecting Similar Data to Meta, Twitter, Snap

Video-sharing platform TikTok has faced ongoing restrictions in Western countries – and the trend seems set to continue.

Owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, TikTok has been accused of posing a threat to privacy, collecting users’ information and handing it to the Chinese government. However, the tech editor at Yahoo Finance, Daniel Howley, has stated it’s the same as other social-media apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

“TikTok is collecting similar data to Meta, Twitter, Snap. We frequently talk about these kinds of groups of bots that are found, spreading propaganda — that can be an issue on TikTok, but it already is on Meta,” said Howley.

Propaganda could be the issue on TikTok, but the collecting of the data is already rife on Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The Chinese firm has repeatedly denied allegations that it is provided data to the country’s Communist Party.

Also Read: Lawsuit Filed Against Meta, Snap, TikTok for Mental Health Crisis

Australian user data is ‘accessible’ in China

Despite repeated denials from ByteDance and TikTok, the data of Australian users is accessible in China, according to Sky News Australia.

Shadow Cyber Security Minister James Paterson said that TikTok has admitted to him through correspondence that user data from Australia is accessible and has been accessed in mainland China.

Last July, James Paterson notified the Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil, that TikTok had confirmed to him via correspondence that user data from Australia could be accessed, and indeed had been accessed, in mainland China. He promptly passed this information to the relevant minister.

Paterson says “nothing has happened in the eight months” since he informed the minister.

“What we’ve also had in the meantime is an admission from TikTok that they used their application to spy on a journalist in the United States who had been writing critical articles about them to try and physically co-locate them with TikTok employees to identify those journalist sources,” said Paterson.

Paterson believes all social media apps headquartered in authoritarian countries pose a degree of risk.

TikTok restricted in government devices in Denmark

The list of restrictions is rapidly growing, as it seems that a new government blocks Byte Dance’s ubiquitous social media app each day.

The Center for Cyber Security (CFCS) recommended on February 24, 2023, that the Department of Defense in Denmark prohibit its employees from using TikTok on serviceable devices. Consequently, the department has decided to implement the ban.

The Department of Defense Group has elected to go beyond the CFCS’s recommendation and prohibit its use on serviceable devices due to significant security concerns within the Ministry of Defense Group.

“All employees in the Ministry of Defense are informed of the decision and are required to uninstall TikTok on service telephones and other serviceable units as soon as possible, if previously installed,” stated the Ministry.

Germany has also blocked officials from downloading TikTok, joining the list of countries that have banned the app.

ByteDance launched the platform five years ago into the global market. With approximately 1.5 billion regular users, it is especially popular among teenagers and younger adults.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.