Tik Tok: Time is Running Out, Save Your Privacy Before This Trend Takes it
We currently live in the most fast-paced society to rule the Earth. What do you spend your time doing? Do you take each moment as it comes, do you incessantly plan for the future, or do you still visit your past every once in a while? Is there even time to figure that answer out? Or is self-discovery just another trend?
The surplus of trends has transformed us into a fast-food society. We get our fix on everything social, economic, news-worthy, entertainment, etc. while it is hot and ready. It doesn’t matter anymore to us if things last, if they fulfill us, or if they are good for our health. We are constantly hungry for the next alluring thing.
Dude chill, you’re making me hungry.
Okay right, me too.
Let’s move on before I UberEATS Chick fila. Again.
One of the most consistent platforms that is clamoring for our attention is social media. Some of the trends this year alone: voice search, live streaming, podcasts, nano influencers and more, are increasingly difficult to keep up with. But if you’re active, there is one trend on social media that is undeniably large: TikTok. If you don’t know what TikTok is, well you’re behind, but check out this link to learn more.
Ok Boomer. State the obvious why don’t you? Everyone knows TikTok is huge.
Bear with me here. Did you know after being around for less than three years, this app has been downloaded over two billion times? This makes TikTok the most downloaded app in history, averaging 800 million viewers and 500 million active viewers.
Hold on, let me visualize it for you. There are more people actively on TikTok than there are living in the United States of America. There are almost as many active viewers as people that live in the whole continent of Europe. Talk about a world-class audience.
According to Maryam Mohsin on Oberlo, 90% of TikTok users check the app daily, averaging at least 52 minutes each day, which is a pretty high amount for social media. And 41% of users are teenagers or young adults. That’s right, you and me. We are the TikTok obsessed generation.
Everyone spends hours every day on their phone, why does that matter?
If you won’t take the truth from me, take it from the queen herself:
First of all, how you spend your time is a really important thing. It shows what you care enough to invest in. And ultimately, what you invest your time in is how your identity is formed.
According to Forbes Media, one of the trends of our generation is that we are cultivating such a potent online presence in an effort to produce mass amounts of content that there is an increasingly large amount of our personal information available to social media companies, and with the trend of interchanging apps, we are often releasing that information to dozens of companies.
Yeah, all social media has privacy concerns dude. If you’re worried about that then just get off the web and stop hating on TikTok.
But wait. This should still concern you. According to Chaim Gartenberg from The Verge, even other internet CEO’s like Reddit’s Steve Huffman and Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg are calling TikTok, “fundamentally parasitic”, “spyware”, and “a lot to be concerned about”.
Okay, that makes sense. Those are big name companies so maybe I should hear you out.
Exactly. If people like Huffman and Sandberg are concerned, we should be as well. One of the major concerns is this app’s fingerprint tracking. TikTok fingerprinting is referring to is a combination of audio and browser tracking to determine which users are watching and sharing a video on both the app and on the web. TikTok parent company ByteDance claims that its fingerprinting techniques are used to identify malicious browser behavior, but according to Matthias Eberl on Rufposten, the website still appears to work perfectly fine when those scripts are disabled. This app is tracking you, where you share things and who you share them with. With this app, it goes so much farther than you just enabling them access to your camera roll.
According to Queenie Wong on Cnet, in 2019 there was a major lawsuit filed against ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, over privacy issues with the app and its company being accused of sending users’ information to China. According to this article and the lawsuit, “TikTok is gathering a trove of data about its users, including their phone and social network contacts, email addresses, IP address, location and other information, according to the lawsuit. The company allegedly uses different tactics to conceal that they’re transferring user data. Even when a user closes the app, it still harvests biometric and user data, the lawsuit states”. This shows that a multitude of your information apparently being sent to a foreign country, where you don’t know how it will be processed.
That sounds scary. But I don’t feel like anything terrible is happening to me right now. Why should I care who has my information?
- Privacy is a limit on the government’s and private companies’ power. The more someone knows about us, the more control they have over us. Our personal information is used to make very important decisions in our lives. Personal data can be used to affect our reputations; and it can be used to influence our decisions and shape our identity. In the wrong hands, personal data can be used to cause us great harm.
- Privacy helps us establish social boundaries in society with limits on the information shared. We need places of solitude to retreat to, places where we are free of the gaze of others in order to relax and feel at ease. Breaches of these boundaries can create awkward social situations and damage our relationships. Privacy is also helpful to reduce the social friction we encounter in life. Most people don’t want everybody to know everything about them, but with the unknown that comes with most app’s privacy policies, more information might be shared than you want.
- Protecting your privacy gives you freedom in the future. Many people are not static; they change and grow throughout their lives. There is a great value in the ability to have a second chance, to be able to move beyond a mistake, to be able to reinvent oneself. Privacy allows people to grow and mature without being shackled with all the foolish things they might have done in the past. Of course you can’t hide everything you do, but some things should be, because we want to encourage growth.
Wow. I never thought about that stuff, maybe I should take my privacy more seriously.
Read privacy policies. Turn your account on private. Limit what you share, and who you share it with. There will always be another social media outlet at your fingertips, so maybe don’t invest all of your time in ones that are morally questionable with your data. TikTok is the next biggest thing, but it doesn’t have to be your thing. You are worth more than the next trendiest thing.
Where you spend your time is who you are, and in this generation, we are desperate to create unique, standout identities. But you can’t stand out if someone has stolen your information, or if the culture is to conform to what you are supposed to find your identity in. Find a balance, before it’s too late.
But also if you’re being smart, enjoy TikTok! Some of the stuff it has to offer is really cool. Check out the links below for some positive TikToks! And don’t forget to leave a comment below on your thoughts!