With TikTok garnering more than 500 Mn active users worldwide, several social media platform and governments have targetted the Chinese short video platform over its data policies and privacy issues. Now, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has called out TikTok for being “fundamentally parasitic”. Huffman also noted that he “actively” tells people to not install that spyware on your [their] phone.”
Talking at a Silicon Valley conference, Huffman said, “Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them… Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.”
To this, TikTok responded, “These are baseless accusations made without a shred of evidence.”
However, Reddit is not the only company making such claims. Several governments and private companies have come forward, claiming that TikTok has been collecting users data.
TikTok Sharing Data With China?
Last year in February, the US government claimed that TikTok had been illegally collected personal information from the Children. Meanwhile, TikTok was imposed a $5.7 Mn fine by the USA’s Federal Trade Commission to settle the matter. Since then, the app is reportedly under the National Security review to ensure that the app is not a threat to American interests.
As per media reports, the Us government did see TikTok as a security threat, stating that the company can easily supply user data to Chinese authorities under Chinese law. The report suggested that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance might be forced to sell the majority stake in the app in order to remain in the US, which is one of its most prominent markets.
TikTok called these rumours “meritless”. TikTok has maintained that its data centres are located outside China and therefore, they do not fall under the ambit of Chinese law. The company also emphasised that it stores all the data of users from the US in the country itself, with a backup redundancy in Singapore.
But the US is not the only country claiming that China can snoop on the data collected by TikTok. The Indian government and members of parliaments (MP) have also raised similar concerns in the past, demanding a ban on TikTok.
In July 2019, Pinaki Mishra, member of parliament from Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, along with Jayadev Galla of the Telugu Desam Party, stressed on the need for the data protection Bill. Pinaki Mishra added, “India has a neighbour who is hell-bent on collecting data and information from India. This is not going to benefit India but (it’s) for their own benefit, their future.”
Mishra had also stated that the right-wing organisations like Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) economic wing had written to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the “nefarious” activities of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
The same month, the IT ministry brought TikTok under its scanner and asked it to respond to a list of 21 questions. The department also threatened to ban the app if TikTok did not send appropriate responses. Besides that, reports suggest that the PM office has also asked the IT ministry to keep a close watch on the platform.