Commentary: Should the US ban TiKTok? Can it?
Apps collect data for several reasons. Sometimes the data is used to improve the app for users. However, most apps collect data that the companies use in part to fund their operations. This revenue typically comes from targeting users with ads based on the data they collect.
The questions this use of data raises are: Does the app need all this data? What does it do with the data? And how does it protect the data from others?
So what makes TikTok different from the likes of Pokemon GO, Facebook or even your phone itself?
This information includes location data, data from your clipboard, contact information, website tracking, plus all data you post and messages you send through the app. The company claims that current versions of the app do not collect GPS information from US users. There has been speculation that TikTok is collecting other information, but that is hard to prove.
If most apps collect data, why is the US government worried about TikTok? First, they worry about the Chinese government accessing data from its 150 million users in the US. There is also a concern about the algorithms used by TikTok to show content.
DATA IN THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT’S HANDS
If the data does end up in the hands of the Chinese government, the question is how could it use the data to its benefit. The government could share it with other companies in China to help them profit, which is no different than US companies sharing marketing data.