TikTok, the shining star for short form video content that has platforms like Meta and YouTube on the run, has been outed once again, this time by the Federal Trade Commission as an app that you may not want to do business with.
On June 28, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr went on record to call the popular new kid on the block a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that needs to be removed from Apple and Google due to blatant privacy concerns.
The FCC calls upon Apple and Google to ban the app.
Carr, who is the senior Republican member on the board, issued a letter to both the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, asking them to eliminate the app after American TikTok employees leaked a report that China-based workers of parent company, ByteDance, had access to private U.S. user data.
BuzzFeed News was the first to report the problem after being given access to 80 internal recordings with “14 statements from nine different TikTok employees indicating that engineers in China had access to US data between September 2021, and January 2022, at the very least.”
The controversial recordings ran the gamut of small-group meetings with company leaders and consultants to policy all-hands presentations. In the past TikTok claimed they’ve never shared sensitive info but the new evidence which is corroborated by screenshots and other documents tells another story.
Recorded evidence shows TikTok China-based employees have access to your data.
Making the platform look even more guilty, The New York Post reported that hours before the BuzzFeed article was posted, TikTok stated that they had “migrated U.S. user data to servers run by Oracle” because they had “a strong commitment to protecting the privacy of its U.S. users.” Carr retorted that this action did not answer whether ByteDance employees would still be able to access private data. He took to Twitter soon after to state his disproval and even uploaded a photo of the letter he sent to Apple and Google.
TikTok is not just another video app.
That’s the sheep’s clothing.
It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
All this news is troubling, yet Americans seem to be turning a blind eye to the security problems TikTok poses. However, it’s hard not to blame us for our nonchalance. The app is fun, easy to use, and for creators, it’s good business. It can be hard to walk away from all the work you’ve put into building a following and the promotional and monetary benefits that come with it.
But if you’re concerned about the issue, as I am, Meta and YouTube have been working overtime to come up with alternatives – Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts – so maybe it’s time to embrace these knockoffs until TikTok cleans up its act.
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: iStock.com/hapabapa