TikTok’s Invisible Reach: Your Data at Risk Even Without Using the App, Report Reveals

TikTok’s Invisible Reach: Your Data at Risk Even Without Using the App, Report Reveals

Table of Content

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind growing concerns about TikTok’s data collection practices, regardless of whether users have ever downloaded the app. 

We’ll also examine the potential risks associated with such practices and how it affects privacy and national security.

Key Takeaways:

  • TikTok collects and transfers data even from those who have never used the app.
  • The app uses pixels or trackers across various websites, collecting sensitive user information.
  • TikTok’s data practices raise questions about privacy and national security.

Uncovering TikTok’s Data Practices

A recent cybersecurity report from Feroot has revealed that TikTok possesses user data even if the app has never been used by an individual. 

Moreover, the data collection and transfer continue regardless of whether the app has been deleted.

TikTok pixels, or trackers, can be found on a multitude of websites in different sectors, often unrelated to the website owner’s business. 

These pixels are part of the code that loads into users’ browsers from different websites, according to Feroot.

TikTok Pixels: Harvesting Sensitive Data

Pixels associated with TikTok are present on various webpages, including airlines, e-commerce sites, tech companies, and even state and federal government sites. 

These trackers instantly connect to data harvesting platforms, gathering information such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, banking details, and even personal health information.

While websites may believe that requiring logins and authentications offers security, TikTok’s pixels collect this information as well, the Feroot report states. 

The collected data is then transferred to different locations worldwide, including China and Russia.

Comparing TikTok to Other Tech Giants

TikTok is not the only company using pixels across the internet. Other tech giants such as Google, Meta, and Microsoft employ similar trackers. 

However, TikTok’s practices have sparked renewed scrutiny over how the company handles user data, with some lawmakers calling for an investigation.

Analyzing TikTok’s Data Collection

TikTok, like other social media platforms, accumulates vast amounts of user information, including names, ages, phone numbers, emails, locations, and mobile device identifiers. 

The app’s algorithms also excel in discerning users’ interests based on their interactions, which is valuable for advertisers and potentially for spreading political messages.

National Security Concerns

The fact that TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance raises concerns among U.S. officials about potential national security risks. 

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a history of exerting influence over Chinese tech companies, and there is fear that U.S. user data could be exploited.

TikTok claims that it has never provided any U.S. user data to the Chinese government and that it routes all U.S. user traffic to Oracle’s servers in the United States. 

However, the company’s data collection practices continue to raise concerns about privacy and national security.

Conclusion: Examining the Bigger Picture

While TikTok’s data practices have garnered attention, it is crucial to remember that numerous other companies gather and use Americans’ data. 

The data broker industry is extensive, and information on credit card purchases, contact lists, and GPS locations is frequently bought and sold.

Although there are legitimate concerns about potential propaganda and manipulation from foreign governments, questions about data privacy extend beyond just TikTok, encompassing American companies as well.

share

Written by

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling

Alexander Sterling is a renowned financial writer with over 10 years in the finance sector. With a strong economics background, he simplifies complex financial topics for a wide audience. Alexander contributes to top financial platforms and is working on his first book to promote financial independence.

Reviewed By

Judith

Judith

Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.