TikTok talks cyber-security and answers three burning questions

TikTok talks cyber-security and answers three burning questions
Oh, boy, the social media platform TikTok just can’t get any rest. The never ending drama ride that highlights legal dispute after ban attempt is truly challenging. Not only because the security concerns on hand are extremely relatable and natural, but also because at the end of the day TikTok is not only a business, but a business opportunity for numerous influencers that use it to earn a living.

That being said, TikTok has made strides to prove its innocence through transparency and a very clever tactic: not running away from a challenge. The company outright opened its doors for state officials to explore public data to their leisure.

To continue that trend, a TikTok spokeswoman took the time to talk with the BBC regarding three of the reoccurring cyber-security concerns. Namely: the collection of “excessive” amounts of user data, the involvement of the Chinese communist party and the allegations that the app is effectively a brainwashing construct.

While concerns over user data initially blew up in 2022 when an Australian cyber company published a report, which claimed that TikTok collects huge amounts of sensitive and specific data, things might not have been quite objective. Ever since that statement, other teams have stepped in — like Citizen Labs or the Georgia Institute of Technology — and conducted comparative analysis. Well, it turns out that TikTok collects pretty much the same quantity and type of data that most social platforms do. No shock there, considering the competition.

But the point is that said data may end up with China, right? Well, TikTok continues to stand firmly on the position that it is an independent company, which has not and would not supply China with user info. In all reality, even if the risk is totally understandable and fair to be concerned about, it is entirely theoretical, as no evidence of such a data transfer ever surfaced.

Hold on though — TikTok doesn’t need China in order to brainwash you. Its app is already on your phone! Right? Well, the BBC report highlights only one side of the conversation, and it is related to political misinformation. Citizen Labs compared the Chinese and worldwide versions of TikTok and concluded that political-oriented content is not being moderated outside of China. While that is ultimately a good thing, there's tons more to be discussed on the topic of addictive habit forming and the impact on dopamine that TikTok in particular has.

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Overall, while we wouldn’t call TikTok’s slate clean, we absolutely commend the company for its bravery and handling of the entire situation. This is a bumpy ride that has been going on for years and despite that, the company isn’t showing any signs of burnout. That being said, when the political side of things concludes, we’re eager to see what TikTok will do for the mental health of its astoundingly large user base.

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