The app ‘TikTok’ has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times. It collects an enormous amount of data on every American who uses it and of anyone affiliated with them. The problem is the app is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. It poses a serious national security risk for the US.
This morning, we posted an article about Claudia Conway, the daughter of the President’s chief counsel, Kellyanne Conway. She is on TikTok. Claudia is a leftist who continually bashes the President and his family. Little does she know that the Chinese Communist Party knows far more about her, her family, and her acquaintances and activities than she would ever want.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) June 30, 2020
Over the past year and a half, TikTok, where under-60-second videos often feature bizarre memes, inside jokes, and bite-sized sketch comedy, has become the defining social media app of Gen Z, not only in the US but around the world in places like India and Europe.
In 2017 the Chinese internet company ByteDance bought the app known as Musical.ly and relaunched it as TikTok, with all the original Musical.ly accounts migrating over to TikTok in August 2018. ByteDance is currently the world’s largest startup, estimated to be valued at $78 billion.
Now, it faces potentially major threats thanks to its ties to China: one in the form of a national security review by the US government, and another in a lawsuit brought by a college student alleging her data had been transferred to two Chinese servers, VOX reports.
TikTok instructs its moderators to censor videos that mentioned topics sensitive to the Communist Party of China: Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, and the religious group Falun Gong, for instance. The Guardian’s investigation came after the Washington Post noted that a search for Hong Kong-related topics on TikTok showed virtually zero content about the ongoing and widely publicized pro-democracy protests, which were a major topic on other social media sites at the time.
Even worse, the Chinese Communist Party forces Chinese companies to support and cooperate with their intelligence network.
It gets worse than that.
THE DATA COLLECTION
A computer system administrator named Dan Okopnyi reverse-engineered the app and found that the amount of information it collects on users is daunting. It dwarfs anything US social media collects.
TikTok is a data collection service that is only thinly-veiled as a social network. They are using all APIs they can use to collect information on you.
They are collecting everything on phone hardware, other apps installed, everything network-related, and whether or not you’re rooted/jailbroken. The default has GPS pinging every 30 seconds.
So Claudia Conway is pinging away when she is near her mother, and the Chinese are recording it.
TikTok has a local proxy server that can be abused at any time.
What Mr. Okopnyi finds scariest is that much of the logging they’re doing is remotely configurable and there is nothing you are going to do about it.
They aren’t just collecting data, they’re influencers, manipulating conversations.
There is more you can read on the tweet:
A guy on reddit reversed engineered #TikTok
Here’s what he found on the data it collects on you
It’s far worse than just stealing what’s on your clipboard: pic.twitter.com/oqaQyYDXT2
— Dan Okopnyi 🇺🇦 (@d1rtydan) June 28, 2020