There’s a lot in the news lately covering the hot topic of TikTok. Most of the focus is on Donald Trump and his attempts to have the app banned. In the last 24 hours, Trump has ordered a halt on transactions with ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) effective 20th September.
The controversial topic of whether the app is safe to use or not still boils down to each users choice. Our professional opinion is that the app should be avoided at all costs. Reverse engineering of the application by freelance software developers have frequently found the application to scrape vast amounts of data of all varieties from devices it is installed to. Coupled with the fact that the data is then stored in China, users of the app are willingly inviting foreign bodies to monitor their every move. For a domestic user, this can be a preferential choice. But for a business user, this should be raising countless red flags. The biggest flag so far is that an older version of TikTok has recently been found to be in direct violation of Google’s App Store policies.
The old version of TikTok has been found gathering device data without asking for the user’s consent. The standard practice of most malicious apps is to pile all the data acquisition requests into the Terms and Conditions or small print, knowing that end users skim over the text and willingly give away their data. To be caught accessing device information without user consent seems to be the spark that ignites Trumps campaign of banning TikTok in the US.
We’re not here to tell you not to use TikTok if you’re relying on bringing in new business using the app as a social media platform continued usage is a choice you’ll have to make. We do, however, feel responsible for bringing the countless data violations to your attention. If you use the app and find yourself conflicted when deciding whether the continued usage of or consider the removal of the app, by all means, reach out to us and we’ll go over how we feel the app exposes your business data, resulting in a failure of your cyber security.