Should we be afraid of TikTok?

Should we be afraid of TikTok?

“We don’t believe you.” “You are lying. On March 23, Shou Zi Chew, the head of the social network TikTok, had a bad time before the US Congress. In a hostile atmosphere, he struggled to convince that he was not a Trojan horse, in other words a spy for China. One more step In the veil of skepticism that surrounds teens’ favorite app.

With over a billion users, TikTok is the fourth most used platform in the world, after Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Since Monday, March 20, staff of the European Parliament have been banned from having the app on their professional devices. The Foundation has raised data security concerns. Previously, the Canadian, English and New Zealand parliaments adopted similar measures. France is preparing to do the same. The social network is completely banned in India and the Baltic countries.

TikTok is often accused of pushing content favorable to Chinese politics

If TikTok’s algorithm has come under fire, it’s primarily because of its lack of transparency. His code is not available. We do not know exactly what data is being collected, nor do we know the weight of each in determining preferences. Jerome Belois, a partner at cybersecurity firm Visionstone, explains: “Initially, TikTok is obligated to leave the data collected in the countries of origin. But we also know that the Chinese Communist Party controls the national tech ecosystem and that Chinese companies are obligated to provide all the information the government requests. [loi de sécurité nationale, 2017]. »

TikTok has often been accused of pushing content favorable to Chinese politics, censoring other content, and above all, that once you install it on your device – smartphone or tablet – it siphons off all information available in other apps, including emails. TikTok was installed in October 2022 for integrating tracking pixels which make it possible to locate internet users, including those who have not installed the app.

TikTok has admitted that some employees in China have access to European user data

These pixels were present on sites (.org, .gouv, .educ) and sometimes on sensitive issues, such as family planning, religious topics… TikTok also acknowledged, in November, that some employees in China had access to data of European users and that The employees used this data to go after the journalists.

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“Caution is required. I imagine that Elysée’s TikTok account is not controlled from the president’s phone,” says Jerome Belois. “As long as it stays on teen smartphones, TikTok poses no risk of hacking. But it’s best to avoid installing it on professional devices.” On good terms…

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