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THE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & LifestyleTHE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & Lifestyle

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TikTok’s Influence: Gauging Its Potential Threat to the West

TikTok's Influence: Gauging Its Potential Threat to the West
Tiktok Photo Credit: Alamy Tiktok Photo Credit: Alamy
TikTok's Influence: Gauging Its Potential Threat to the West
Tiktok Photo Credit: Alamy Tiktok Photo Credit: Alamy

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TikTok’s Influence: Gauging Its Potential Threat to the West

China has strongly criticized a bill under consideration in the US Congress that could potentially lead to the banning of TikTok in the United States, denouncing it as unjust. This latest development adds to the ongoing dispute over safety concerns regarding the popular app, which is owned by a Chinese company.

Many Western countries have already prohibited officials, politicians, and security personnel from installing TikTok on work phones due to apprehensions about its safety.

So, what are the three main cybersecurity concerns surrounding TikTok, and how does the company address them?

  1. Data Collection: Critics often accuse TikTok of gathering excessive amounts of data. A cybersecurity report from an Australian company, Internet 2.0, highlighted extensive data harvesting by the app. However, TikTok maintains that its data collection practices are in line with industry standards. Comparative studies by organizations like Citizen Lab and the Georgia Institute of Technology suggest that TikTok’s data collection is similar to that of other popular social media platforms.
  2. Potential for Government Espionage: There are concerns that TikTok, owned by a Chinese firm, could be exploited by the Chinese government for spying on users. Despite assurances from TikTok that it operates independently and does not share user data with the Chinese government, suspicions persist. Some point to a vague provision in China’s National Intelligence Law as cause for alarm. While TikTok has stated that Chinese employees cannot access non-Chinese user data, revelations in 2022 about data access by Beijing-based staff have fueled skepticism.
  3. Propaganda and Censorship: TikTok has faced allegations of being used as a tool for disseminating propaganda and influencing public opinion. Critics worry that the app’s recommendation algorithm could be manipulated for propaganda purposes. The fact that TikTok’s sister app, Douyin, is heavily censored in China adds to these concerns. However, studies comparing TikTok and Douyin suggest that TikTok does not engage in the same level of political censorship as its Chinese counterpart.

Overall, the concerns surrounding TikTok are largely theoretical, but they raise significant questions about data privacy, national security, and freedom of expression. The possibility of a US ban on TikTok could have far-reaching consequences for the platform, underscoring the complex dynamics between technology, geopolitics, and cybersecurity.

 


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