The popular video app TikTok has recently been a focus of concern over its lack of data privacy and potential risks associated with it. The worst-case scenario is that the U.S. may ban the app in our country.
If you haven’t heard of TikTok at this point, let me fill you in. It’s a short-form video app that is extremely popular right now. It has amassed 1.5 billion downloads, and was created by Chinese developer ByteDance. It’s more than just a video app, it’s a social network slightly similar to Instagram, but all video. Many content creators use the platform to make their unique videos using a variety of sounds shared by other users, or their own original audio and video. It is also a community in which you can meet people who share your same passion for making strange, fun, and collaborative video art.
India recently banned TikTok, plus 58 other apps, including apps from many Chinese tech giants. This ban greatly hurt TikTok commercially, as the largest number of its users live in India.
While it is true, TikTok does have security issues, so do many other apps. The app industry pretty much exists to monetize user data, geared to maximize the effectiveness of targeted advertising. Most of what TikTok does is very common, tracking likes, dislikes, behaviors.
So is TikTok safe? The answer is that no, the app is guilty of the exact same security risks as many other apps that are not getting banned that you likely use every day. The real head-scratcher here is why specifically TikTok? It has been reported that the president wants to punish China for Covid-19, and that banning it would result in a massive decline in business revenue.
Will TikTok be banned? Maybe. As a content creator, I would be very sad to see it go. Since I downloaded it in March of 2019, I’ve managed to make quite a few videos and have over 3k followers. I found that the ease of using the app made me want to create more, and it’s fairly easy to get interaction from other creators in the community with just a few simple hashtags. There’s a feature called “duet” where you can make a video alongside another user’s video for collaborative pieces. I’ve even made friends online through the TikTok community through our shared love of nerdy hobbies, cosplay, and video games, around which most of my content is centered. I’ve even been introduced to new music with TikTok. There’s also endless content of every type you can imagine. You can easily find your niche (mine niche is cosplay lip-synch videos) and meet others who want to make content with you.
Hopefully TikTok will be able to make the app secure so that users can enjoy it worry free, or perhaps some similar app will come along that is safe from security risks.