TikTok under investigation for sharing children's data
TikTok is one of the most popular social apps out there - third in both the Apple Store and Google Play at the moment. It's essentially a service which allows kids to lip-sync to their favourite songs, encouraging 12-year-old girls to wear excessive makeup and imitate the styles of their pop heroes. On top of being extremely creepy in nature, the creators of TikTok are also deeply in the wrong over how they handle their users' information.
They've already been fined once this year for sharing children's data without seeking parents' consent through the app, and now they're being investigated again by the UK ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).
After reading through various court proceedings and defending/attacking arguments, it's my view that TikTok are malicious surveillance capitalists of the highest order - they have no regard for the safety of children, even allowing open messaging systems for anonymous adults to contact preteens, who upload 13 million videos daily between themselves on the platform.
In fact, TikTok seems to actively encourage vulnerable children to donate money to "influencers", presumably using their parents' credit cards. Their reward? Often the phone numbers of their idols and the opportunity for one-on-one private chats; a sinister dynamic by any respectable standard.
Don't be fooled by any spin the TikTok public relations squad dumps onto the internet in the coming weeks. These people are among the worst of a horrible bunch, encouraging naive children into a clearly exploitative ecosystem which converts their actions and data into profit at every opportunity, with no regard for their privacy whatsoever.
Parents: moderating your child's internet usage is a delicate balance to strike, but this particular app is a certain magnitude of disturbing and may warrant some careful investigation on your part.
If you enjoy The Data Exhaust and the topics of surveillance capitalism, cyber security, life with technology, and information privacy, we gladly accept tips and donations, however small, in the form of Bitcoin: