TikTok: Data Collection and Privacy Concerns, and How to Protect Yourself

Can TikTok Learn More About You Than Your Own Mother? Steps to Request and Control Your Stored Data

TikTok, the popular Chinese social media app, has been criticized for its data collection practices and the amount of personal information it collects from users. One user on social network X claims that TikTok knows them better than anyone else in the world, including their mother, best friend, or psychologist, calling it “witchcraft.” This has led to concerns about data protection and collection for third parties, leading to bans in some regions like the European Union and the United States.

EL PAÍS investigates the data collected by TikTok and how users can request their data. By accessing their profile, going to settings and privacy option, choosing “Account,” and then selecting “Download your data,” any user can request a copy of their data from TikTok. The downloaded file contains various folders that hold information such as user-provided data, login records, browsing history, shared videos, searches made, and settings on the platform. In addition to this information, TikTok also collects data on user interactions such as likes, follows and comments as well as details about each video on the platform.

Experts consulted by EL PAÍS suggest that while TikTok collects similar data to other social networks but may have more intrusive permissions and information collection practices. To limit data sharing with TikTok, users can take several steps such as using official website in a web browser instead of app version , creating separate email or phone accounts for registration , restrict contact syncing , limit ad personalization , manage permissions in app settings and device settings . While TikTok may collect some information through browser cookies and trackers , users can take steps to minimize data collection and protect their privacy on the platform. It is important for users to be aware of what information they share with apps like TikTok and to take steps to protect themselves from potential risks associated with excessive data collection.

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