What is TikTok?
TikTok, or Douyin, is a Chinese owned app created for sharing videos through a social network service by ByteDance. ByteDance is based out of Beijing and has been around since 2012 when it was founded by Zhang Yiming. The TikTok videos can be 3 to 60 seconds that loop your recorded creativity. “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.” – TikTok. With the app being downloaded 175 million times in the United States and 2 billion times around the world, TikTok is sharing a lot of creativity and fun!
Let’s break down the Pros and Cons of TikTok:
- The app is FREE! You can review the app before allowing it to be downloaded on your device.
- TikTok has their privacy outlined for you in its Safety Center.
- You have the option to turn off all comments and direct messages, set limitations to certain followers or leave it completely turned on.
- They have a feature called Digital Wellbeing. This allows you to regulate time in the app, whether it is your child, employee or just to keep you from spending too much time on the app.
- ByteDance has 10,000 monitors for the app.
- The app provides hours of endless entertainment that can inspire creativity and physical activity such as the popular TikTok dances.
- In March, it was discovered that TikTok pulls a variety of data from its users such as Internet and other network activity including your browser history, IP address and location.
- In December, investigators from the Israeli cybersecurity firm, Check Point, said they discovered bugs in TikTok that could have let hackers collect personal data, which the company claimed to fix.
- Last year, TikTok paid $5.7 million to the Federal Trade Commission due to violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) from its previous app, Musical.ly. Since then, TikTok has increased the parental controls but children advocacy groups press concerns that it is not enough.
- The biggest worry comes from China collecting personal information from millions of US citizens. This is why TikTok is forbidden on any official equipment by the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). China’s government gains a lot of power with its technology companies which demands them to adhere to the censorship orders or keep everything under surveillance.
To TikTok or not to TikTok?
As of now, we recommend not using it. The hope is that the security issues will be fixed making it a safe social media platform to use and enjoy. If you decide to use it, keep in mind all the pros and cons.
Update: CEO of Tiktok, Kevin Mayer, resigned on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, in the aftermath of legal action being pursued against the US Government.
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