Social media management

What's the real state of TikTok privacy?

  • Angelique Fijneman
  • 13 / 08 / 2020
Leestijd: 5 min

TikTok - you know, the platform of short videos with crazy dances and challenges for young people between 10 and 19 - is also becoming increasingly interesting for businesses. Compared to other social channels, it is easier to go viral and there are more and more opportunities to advertise. Especially if your company wants to reach a younger target group, it can be a good addition to your social media strategy. But unfortunately, it is not all rosy. TikTok has regularly been in the news negatively recently about their privacy policies. Is it really wise to use TikTok for marketing purposes? Because what do they actually do with all the user data they collect? We catch you up.

Data & privacy

TikTok collects data to create a good profile of its users. They want to know which videos a user likes so they can show relevant videos. To find out, they collect as much data as possible. For instance, they store users' location every 30 seconds and install browser trackers to follow internet activity. So they are constantly aware of where their users are and what they are doing online.

Once you create an account as a user, all features have to be unlocked. This forces you to accept personalized ads and automatically sets your profile to public. Many young people don't think about adjusting this because they are simply unaware of their privacy, however, on TikTok, this has quite some implications. Because in addition to all videos from public profiles being visible to everyone, they can also be downloaded by just about anyone. Although you can adjust privacy settings, the options to protect your privacy are limited even there and TikTok collects data without you being able to change it.

Who uses your data?

Besides using this information, themselves, it can of course be used for other purposes. And that's exactly where the shoe pinches. TikTok is owned by ByteDance. As this is a Chinese technology company, they may be required by the Chinese government to share all their data. Thus, an entire country will have all user data at its disposal. What exactly they can do with that remains to be seen, but it doesn't really make one feel comfortable. And that also makes TikTok different (read: riskier) than other social media channels, which are of course also more often under fire when it comes to privacy.

For this reason, TikTok is being banned in more and more countries, with the US being a big example. In the Netherlands it is not that far yet, but it does make you think. Will you use TikTok for your business now that you have this information? We are curious!