The most downloaded app of 2022 worldwide has been banned on government devices in several countries. The app faces charges related to the app’s privacy practices and data security and possible links with the Chinese government being a company from this country.

According to research by cyber threat detection company ESET, It is possible to know the amount of personal information TikTok collects from its users.

The Chinese app has come under controversy over a number of privacy and cybersecurity issues.including allegations of excessive user data collection and sharing with the Chinese government, harmful impact on children and their mental health, and personal data leaks.

“While many of these concerns are not really unique to TikTok, no other social network gets as many scrutiny as the popular video app. TikTok “It collects more information from users than the industry average and uses a stronger recommendation algorithm than other platforms, but many in particular believe the app poses national security risks,” said ESET Content Writer Roman Cuprik.

According to an Internet 2.0 report, TikTok requests excessive permissions on the device and collects excessive amounts of datamuch more than it takes to make it work.

For example, the app collects data on: All applications installed on the phone require detailed information about the Android operating system and access to the phone book.

“The application can and will run successfully without collecting any of this data. This makes one believe that data collection is the only reason this information is collected,” explains Thomas Perkins, engineer and head of Internet 2.0 security.

Please note that most of this data collection cannot be disabled and TikTok states in its Privacy Policy. Who can read your messages claiming they need this level of access to protect users from spam?

At the same time, the company gets the approximate location from your device’s GPS data, even when location service is disabled. It also collects transaction and purchase history.

According to Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, who responded to these accusations before the US Congress, “current versions of the app do not collect precise or approximate GPS information from US users. It also denies sharing data with the Chinese government. TikTok is a US-founded US-based company.” As a company, it is subject to US law and has never shared or received requests to share US user data with the Chinese government. TikTok also wouldn’t have honored such a request.”

It is recommended to use the official TikTok website in a web browser to protect some of your privacy while using TikTok.

The cybersecurity firm says that while you may still be able to collect some information using browser cookies and other trackers, it’s less than doing so on a mobile device.

However, keep in mind that it is not possible to post videos, add comments or like any video without an account.

If you want to have an account, you can restrict the exchange of some data in the settings. TikTok clearly states in its Privacy Policy that it may collect your data from third-party apps even without your consent.

When signing up for the first time, it’s a good option to use a phone or email address that isn’t used elsewhere., instead of an account associated with another social network, for example. Conversely, for added protection, don’t let TikTok sync phone contacts or Facebook friends and limit personalization of ads.

Also consider protecting minors, a recent study conducted in Italy on 78 patients with eating disorders. It found that watching content on TikTok caused a drop in self-esteem in 59%, and 27% reported significant changes in their daily lives related to TikTok. For about 63 percent of all patients surveyed, TikTok was the primary social network.

The US Department of Homeland Security has also launched an investigation into allegations that TikTok is not doing enough to combat child sexual abuse materials, the Financial Times reported in April 2022.

In this sense, Chew said TikTok is constantly scanning content for possible signs of abusive behavior. It also removes content that promotes bullying, hate speech, eating disorders, and violent extremism.

“Every video uploaded to TikTok goes through automated moderation and is automatically removed or upgraded for review by one of our expert moderators, who are specially trained to detect signs of potentially infringing content, grooming or abusive behavior.” said.

TikTok launched a feature called Family Matching in the field of child protection in 2020. The tool gives mothers, fathers and guardians a degree of control and control over their minor’s accounts. A guardian can link the TikTok account to the minor’s account and receive daily screen time, restricted exposure, etc. can set parental controls, includingaa visibility for some content, child’s search options and others.

Source: Exame

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