TikTok: Social Media, or Spyware? - Deepstash
TikTok: Social Media, or Spyware?

TikTok: Social Media, or Spyware?


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TikTok: Social Media, or Spyware?

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Government has declared tiktok a threat

U.S. government declared Tik Tok a security threat.


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Is tiktok any different from Google

Beyond initial paranoia, let’s be realistic about what apps collect. Even Google collects IP (and therefore geographic location), and other pieces of personal data:

Google records every search you perform and every YouTube video you watch . Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, Google Maps logs everywhere you go , the route you use to get there and how long you stay — even if you never open the app.

So then what are we looking for? How is this different? For one thing, Google, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter apps don’t collect anywhere near the same amount of data that TikTok does.


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Things tiktok collects

  • Location (once Every 30 seconds for some variants of the app…)
  • Phone Calls
  • Screenshots
  • Network Information (Wifi Networks’ SSID, MAC address, Carrier, Network Type, IMSI (possible), IMEI, local IPs, other devices on the network…)
  • Facial Data
  • Address
  • Clipboard
  • Phone Data (cpu, hardware ids, screen dimensions, dpi, memory usage, disk space, etc)
  • Installed Apps
  • Rooted/Jailbroken Status


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Phone Calls/Call Log/Phone Number

TikTok requires you to provide a phone number upon signup on most occasions to function normally within the app, so they can link your identity to your phone number. They also collect your call log (people you’ve called) and have the permission to make calls from your device, although I’ve never heard of a case of this happening. Phone numbers are generally very unique, so this combined with location and name would already be enough to identify virtually anyone using this app in the U.S.


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So, social media or spyware? Why not both?

I’m probably going to continue to use the app, but I’ll be sure not to say Xi Jinping looks like Winnie the Pooh or mention the Falun Gong genocide . At least, not while TikTok is watching.


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Informs users about the amount of data tiktok collects