Wildly popular TikTok app comes with security concerns

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Wildly popular TikTok app comes with security concerns

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One of the most downloaded and used apps this year is known as TikTok. TikTok is a social media app to publically share dancing and lip syncing videos. And, it is no surprise that there are now security problems being shared on the news as every social media app has some kind of security issue. TikTok users are generally younger and their profiles are susceptible to being stolen without their knowledge. But will this stop Tiktok’s millions of users from using the app?

China launched TikTok in 2016, and by 2018 it became one of the most popular social media apps. Before TikTok, the app Musical.ly was used for the same purpose and for people to gain a large following as a means to launch a musical career. In August 2018, Tiktok and Musical.ly merged, using the name TikTok. This was a big surprise and let down to many people as muscial.ly was the hottest app, but many people now say they like TikTok better. 

The U.S government has recently launched a national security investigation on the security issues involving TikTok which has had approximately 120 million downloads in the U.S approximately  1.4 billion worldwide. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. government has  investigated TikTok over national security concerns. The Post reports that TikTok claims “it has never removed a video at the request of Chinese government officials…noting that U.S. users’ data is stored in the United States and that it is not subject to Beijing’s surveillance laws.” 

Still, many U.S. TikTok users are concerned as they fear China is using the app to gain access to and store users’ private information. Olympic Heights junior Andie Hirsch recounts, “The other day my dad sent me an article on TikTok’s security problems, and I immediately deleted the app. I spent so much time on TikTok but this really scared me.” 

Such concerns are hurting TikTok and costing it users. TikTok is now making it a priority to gain its user’s trust by emphasizing that the app is separately owned and operated in the U.S. Nevertheless, the U.S. government’s 2018 investigation found that there was very little to no privacy features and policies on the app, thereby making it easier for users’ information to be stolen. 

According to techxplore.com, TikTok agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle the FTC’s complaint, filed by the Department of Justice, which said the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA.” This would have to be a major concern for parents of younger children using TikTok.

Despite the concern, TikTok continues to be one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world. It is somewhat addictive as users spend easily spend an hour a day or much longer scrolling through funny, cringy, and relatable videos. OH sophomore  Zaina Shehadeh admits, “I will not stop using TikTok because of these problems because there are a lot of apps that have security problems. Using TikTok is just for fun, so having security problems won’t really stop me from making videos.” 

Hopefully in the future TikTok and China will find a resolution to this problem without the U.S. government having to shut down the app as it would be very disappointing for its millions of users.

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