Delete TikTok or risk exposing your data to ‘hostile’ threats, foreign affairs committee head warns
People have been urged to delete TikTok from their phones, with the chairman of Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee warning that “we are naive” about the threat posed by the app.
Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP, said the installation of the video-sharing platform exposed users’ personal information to “hostile” threats – particularly from the Chinese government.
markingwhich is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance, denied such information would ever be shared.
But Ms Kearns told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s not worth having this vulnerability on your phone.
“It’s the ultimate source of data for anyone with hostile efforts.”
When asked if people using the app should delete it, she replied, “No question.”
Why is TikTok so controversial?
While TikTok is very popular, especially among teenagers, and has more than a billion users worldwide, it is coming under increasing scrutiny for how much information it collects from people’s phones.
In the United Kingdom, Europe and more and more in the United States where a total ban was imposedIt raises concerns that the company could access this data and share it with Chinese officials.
“Everybody should be concerned about this,” Ms Kearns said.
TikTok has consistently denied the lawsuits, with chief executive Liz Kanter telling Ms Kearn’s committee in December that the platform had not been asked for UK user data by China and would not provide it. if she would do it.
In the United States, where TikTok was sued for alleged privacy violationsthe company stressed that its operations are independent of ByteDance and that users are safe.
But Ms Kearns told Sky News “we are naive” and “we need to get much more serious about protecting ourselves”.
Is TikTok really harvesting my data?
TikTok knows things like your IP address, what other apps you have on your phone, and of course any credentials you provide, like your email address and birthday.
TikTok has to ask for permission to access your location data and contacts, but unlike others, it’s much more reluctant to take no for an answer, and will periodically prompt you if you haven’t.
What the app learns about users through data and their viewing habits powers the notoriously effective algorithm, which generates an endless, curated feed of short videos tailored to their interests.
It has helped make the app a global cultural giant, with new online trends emerging regularly among the growing number of users.
The growing trend of “keep silent”
TikTok’s “lucky girl syndrome” explained
What is “stop being loud” and “use anger”?
Despite its popularity, TikTok faces a ban in the United States, where it is already in some schools, workplaces, and on the devices of politicians in Congress.
Democrats and Republicans last year introduced bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok in the United States, and America’s own foreign affairs committee is scheduled to vote on it later this month.
TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew is also scheduled to testify before the US Energy and Commerce Committee in March.
Joe Biden has not indicated whether he supports an outright ban, a nuclear option beforehand attempted by former President Donald Trumpbut ordered an official review of apps owned by foreigners.