Although most people find TikTok an amazing platform on which they can share content, some others consider it a threat to national security. However, one prominent cybersecurity professional, Joseph Steinberg, author of Cybersecurity for Dummies, has decided to take the issue apart and put an end to many people’s concerns.
Millions of users upload content to the video-sharing app on a daily basis, but India has banned it, several businesses such as Wells Fargo asked employees to delete the app from devices owned by the company, and the Trump administration is looking for a way to dissuade or even ban TikTok in the United States.
But, You Can Use TikTok Safely
Joseph Steinberg stated he has been using the app, as well as its predecessor, musical.ly for ‘almost half of decade, all while working as the CEO of a cybersecurity-related business, as an expert witness on cybersecurity cases, as an advisor to firms on cybersecurity-related matters.’
TikTok, just like the majority of social apps, collects data about its users as if you are receiving a service for free, you’re definitely not the service’s customer, but a component of its product.
While some people assert that TitTok collects more information than Facebook, as well as device data unrelated to the platform, the reality is that the information Facebook gathers is much more detailed about its users than TikTok could ever collect with its current platform.
The ‘issue’ here is that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, and irrelevant of what type of technology the company implements in terms of privacy and security, all businesses have to eventually answer to the governments of the countries in which they reside or operate, to some extent.
TikTok is Distancing from China
Even if TikTok is not providing the Chinese government with any data it collects, Facebook, on the other hand, has had scandals regarding this type of issue, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and a more recent one, which surfaced this month, demonstrating that the American-owned company shared private data to over 5000 third party developers.
TikTok has been trying to distance itself from the regime in China for years now. The CEO of the platform, for instance, is American, TikTok doesn’t operate in China, and the company announced it will not function in Hong Kong anymore due to China imposing the anti-free-expression ‘National Security Law on Hong Kong’ on the island.
Perhaps people would see it less of a threat when it comes to Chinese spying if the company would move headquarters somewhere in the West.
How Can You Stay Safe While Using TikTok?
The best way to make sure you have no important data on your device that can be collected, it is best to factory reset your phone, or an old one, and clean it out of all your personal information.
On the device then, install a security software and TikTok as well as any other app you want to use but refrain from adding any other information about yourself. This way, there is no data to steal. Assuming that the material you upload on TikTok and Facebook is the same you would post on any other platforms such as YouTube, you should have no issues.