In a short span of time, TikTok has emerged as one of the leading social media platforms, boasting over a billion active users. You’re probably also one of these people who enjoy spending time on TikTok, scrolling through an endless stream of short videos.
Well, you need to take a moment and think about your privacy. By the end of the day, TikTok is a digital platform where your personal information is at risk, especially if you have a public profile. So, it’s imperative to understand the privacy implications of using TikTok.
So, let’s dive deep into the world of TikTok privacy and discover 5 important things you need to know about it.
Why TikTok Privacy Matters?
Basically, when we talk about TikTok privacy, we mean your sensitive and personal information that people can access through the platform. Most of this information can be shared knowingly through profile details and posts. But a lot of the information is also shared unknowingly. This is information that data sites share with third parties like social media marketing agencies, businesses, etc.
While users are usually concerned about the information accessed by third parties, the bigger danger is how scammers and fraudsters can misuse it. Did you know that one in four fraud victims is targeted on social media? So, how exactly do the criminals get their hands on your private info?
- Profile — Basic information like name, date of birth, contact number, etc.
- Posts — Sharing personal life events, work details, relationship status, religious beliefs, etc.
- Location — Tagging locations and geo check-ins of hometown, vacation rentals, etc.
- Personal Interests — Information about your persona, the kind of content you like, hobbies, shopping history, etc.
- Financial Data — Details of your card and financial transactions when you make an online purchase or sign up for free trials/subscriptions.
Hence, this is why it’s crucial that you’re mindful of what exactly you’re putting out there on TikTok. Let’s reveal the 5 important things you should know about TikTok privacy to avoid breaches of privacy, online fraud, identity theft, and other threats.
5 Things You Need To Know About
Here are the 5 things about TikTok privacy users must keep in mind:
According to a study by CNBC, TikTok shares your data more than any other app, and it’s unclear where it goes. TikTok gathers extensive data about its users, like profile information, content you create, user engagement, interactions with other users, and much more. But that’s not all; TikTok also collects data on your locations, IP address, device identifier, and other data on your device.
Now, even though there has been a lot of speculation around it, TikTok has made it clear that it uses user information for purposes like personalization, targeted advertising, and improving app functionality. Moreover, like other social media networks, TikTok only shares data with third-party entities for advertising and marketing needs. It claims to protect sensitive user privacy when sharing data.
TikTok uses geolocation features to provide its users with location-based content tailored to their experiences and surroundings. This is to enhance app usage. However, TikTok can also use this feature to track your physical location even when the app is running in the background and not actively used. TikTok has made it clear, though, that it only accesses location data if the user chooses, allows the app, and chooses to provide it.
In fact, in some regions, including the USA, South Korea, and Australia, TikTok’s latest version cannot track precise GPS locations. If you are in a region where TikTok can access your location, you can turn the location services off.
A major portion of TikTok users is Gen Z and Gen Alpha, meaning that a significant portion of the user base is minors. Therefore, parents need to pay extra attention to the app’s privacy settings. TikTok offers special privacy features designed for younger audiences. Parents can actually pair the app to control and monitor the activity. Understanding these parental controls and privacy settings can help parents and guardians create a safer online environment for children while using the app.
But TikTok has made it clear that it currently does not allow biometric verification. So, you don’t need to add your face or voice for unique identification. That said, TikTok does collect face and voice information for effects, filters, user experience, and safety purposes.
TikTok asks its users for permission to get access to the camera and microphone. Once users allow app permission, then they can create and upload content on TikTok. The platform makes it very clear that the camera and microphone are only activated when a user grants the app permission and when the app is actively in use. Otherwise, TikTok does not collect information through these sources.
TikTok Privacy Checklist To Stay Safe On TikTok
Staying private on TikTok or any other digital platform is not an easy feat. You have to go through your settings and make the right changes. Moreover, you may also need to change the way you use the platform itself.
Here are some effective tips to improve privacy and keep your TikTok profile safe and secure:
- Always close the app when you’re not using it.
- Do not give the app access to your current or live location.
- Set strong privacy settings and keep your account private if you are not a public figure.
- Avoid using publicly known or available information as the answers to your password security questions.
- Always provide only the minimum amount of information necessary when creating your account on TikTok.
- Don’t share information about your email address or phone number publicly on the app.
- Try to create a separate email account for your TikTok profile.
- Always review the privacy policies before signing up and sharing content.
TikTok is great for consuming a wide range of content quickly. But many users were thrown off after the recent fiasco about TikTok sharing users’ personal data with third-party sources. However, the app has shared detailed information about its privacy policies [Source: TikTok]. As a user, you should be educated about these policies to maintain your privacy on the platform. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to keep your account safe by using proper privacy settings.