Is TikTok a Threat to the West?


China has criticized a bill in the US Congress that could potentially lead to a ban on TikTok in the United States, calling it unfair. This is the latest development in a long-standing dispute over safety concerns regarding the app, which is owned by a Chinese company.

Many Western officials, politicians, and security personnel have been prohibited from installing TikTok on their work phones due to these concerns. So what are the three main cyber concerns about TikTok, and how does the company address them?

1. Data Collection:
Critics often accuse TikTok of collecting excessive amounts of data. A report by Internet 2.0, an Australian cyber-company, highlighted this issue, stating that TikTok engages in “excessive data harvesting.” However, other studies have shown that TikTok’s data collection practices are similar to those of other popular social media platforms.

2. Government Surveillance:
There are fears that TikTok could be used by the Chinese government for spying on users. While TikTok claims to be independent and not share user data with the Chinese government, concerns persist due to China’s National Intelligence Law, which mandates cooperation with intelligence efforts.

3. Brainwashing:
There are concerns that TikTok could be used as a tool for brainwashing users. While the platform has guidelines against misinformation and harmful content, there are worries about potential influence operations and censorship, especially given the app’s connection to China.

Overall, these risks are largely theoretical, but they have led to calls for a ban on TikTok in the US and other countries. The platform’s handling of user data and content moderation practices continue to be scrutinized, with ongoing debates about the potential national security implications of its operations.

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