Tic Tok is Fun but Dangerous

In this day and age of technology, and the Internet, and advanced networks such as operating our phones and banking, we need to know when special problems arise. Just as at Compumatrix need to realize when an entity is using people’s information for storage without asking. Compumatrix has folks who watch for breaches in security; but what about us and our security and devices? So this article is a security warning more than anything else since Tic Tok is the fastest growing social trend among young people on Earth. I know several of my grandchildren use this application, and they love it.

Tic Tok is an application for making and sharing short videos. This video-sharing social networking platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and was first launched Douyin in 2016. Tic Tok has evolved and moved across the world year by year since its inception in 2016. But, after it hit the United States markets, it has become the fastest social media app. to reach one billion users.

This application allows its users to create short videos of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos up to 60 seconds. With the acquisition of Musical.ly, a program working with music and lip-sync videos positions Tic-Tok to attract every person with a young and wild side.

At this point 2018, Tic Tok had been made available in over 150 markets, and 75 languages. Tic Tok had also been downloaded more than 100 million times at the Apple Store during the first half of 2018. These numbers surpassed Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to become the world’s most downloaded iOS app.

One of Tic Tok’s newest features of 2020 is Virtual Items of Small Gestures. Based on China’s significant practice of social gifting, many companies took advantage of Tic Tok. They were building support and encouragement in this Tic Tok community during these times of lockdown and quarantine because of COVID.

Tic Tok utilizes an A.I. To build and analyze users’ interests and preferences through their interactions with the content. Then it displays a personalized feed for each user, thus creating a representation of that person. The Algorithm Tic Tok uses processes the user’s preferences. And then based upon the videos they like, comment on, and how long they watch a video further enhances the representation of each individual. Tic Tok now takes this representation and provides content that this individual would enjoy.

There are 11 other programs similar to Tic-Toc, but none of them has grown as robust or as fast. They are:
Lomotif
Cheez
Vigo Video
LIKE
KWAI
Funimate
Firework
Dubsmash
Music Video Show
Triller
Video Star

You may ask what, does this have to do with business? What does this have to do with Compumatrix?
A lot actually if you consider how vested we are, and all businesses are these days in electronic social media. Compumatrix is technology, and our company is information based upon Blockchain.
From the input, I get from my kids and my grandkids this platform is fun and easy to use. I watched Faith do a couple of short videos, and, it is easy to use. I noticed Faith was watching and using this program all the time, so I asked Athena (my Daughter) about her usage. Athena says she is somewhat addicted and started monitoring her use of Tic Tok.

Up to this point, I did not know that many users have become addicted and can’t stop using it. An addiction reduction feature was added in 2018 to Tic Tok’s predecessor Douyin encouraging you to take a break every 90 minutes. Another concern was with users’ attention spans, with these videos being short. Users were consistently watching short video clips. Studies showed a decrease in overall attention spans, which brought up a new problem with very young users whose brain is still developing.

If this was not enough to give you concern, let me tell you Tic Tok has a very dark side too.

To keep in mind; Tic Tok hosts short self-produced videos of people doing funny, skilled, or stupid things of themselves or others. Many even use this as a messaging service with each other. So this platform is very popular with teenagers and young adults.

Remember, we said Tic-Tok is owned by a Chinese company ByteDance. But perhaps I did not mention that last month ByteDance was fined for violating child privacy laws in the United States. And now, I am concerned about the children I know using it.

It turns out that Tik-Tok is even worse than anyone could have imagined;-

A researcher reverse engineered TikTok and determined what information was being returned to ByteDance. The application collects everything about the users’ phone, the phone’s hardware specs and every app that has been used. Tic Tok doesn’t stop there it pings the phone’s GPS every 30 seconds to know where the phone and its user is at all times. Tic-Tok knows which WiFi networks the user connects to, and documents the address of the router as well as every other device connected to each system.

Tic Tok has written its code to allow it to upload software to android phones, and then run that software without the users’ knowledge. It could be surveillance software, adware, or malware, all of which are both illegal and unethical worldwide.

So just what, or where does this information that ByteDance gets go? Right back to China.

So what is being done with this security risk to our children and our phones as a whole? Not much yet, but India has banned Tic Tok along 58 other China-based apps. Indian officials said that these apps were a direct threat to national security.
The United States is considering a ban on Tic Tok, but to date has not released any final decisions.

So as parents and grandparents, we need to see if we are comfortable having every aspect of our children’s lives known and where they are all the time? Especially since all of this information being shared with the Chinese government. Kids are taken all the time and sold into various kinds of slavery
I am not at ease with Tic-Tok and am articulating this information to help people realize the real security threat Tic Tok is. And my recommendation is not to allow Tic Tok on any device your family may have in your household. Also, if parents allow social media for their kids, then stick with Instagram and Snapchat for the younger generations. At least we know they seem to adhere to child privacy laws.

OK, let’s say we don’t let our children use this app. But, considering what this program can do are you not just a little worried about what information it is also taking on your business, or private information to share with the Chinese?

About the author

Sam and Jody live in Mena Arkansas and love Compumatrix. Life is simpler when sharing life with others, and being a Christian I see how being there with and for others enhances their lives. How can Compumatrix make your life better?

Comments

  1. Wow I did not realize tic tok collected that much information, very unusual they would do that, unless they may be using this information for other things, I had a young friend over the other day and I think she was addicted to this tictok she was scrolling and making videos every few seconds the whole time she visited and bragging how much money was going into her paypal she visited for about 20 minutes and said she made $4.50 during that short visit.

    1. Wow, Timothy, I did not know it was a monetized platform as well. Learn something new everyday. But, is the money worth your information would be the catch. Thanks for your input so much!

  2. My friend Sam you have nailed it, I never liked this app though haven’t interacted with it, have seen how young people get glued to this and they can’t do simple chores, the damage is great as individual and now threatens your privacy, it’s surely scary, it’s kind of you’re under surveillance and you don’t know a thing.

    1. Vincent, my friend, I did not know how good or bad this app was; but I know it was addictive to my grandchildren, and so i had to know more about it. It saddens me that such a widely accepted platform is being used for evil things instead of a decent social media platform like the others mentioned. Sad state of affairs.

  3. Congress has passed a bill to band Tic Tok from being loaded onto any Federal Government device. I have heard about the monitoring of users through this device before. Congress doesn’t act very fast on most things but they sure did jump on this band quickly!

    1. Thanks Catherine for your response, I had not heard yet how far the Federal Govt.was willing to go to put a stop to infiltration of information stealing. You said they put a stop to Federal Govt. devices so I wonder how broad that rule of law will apply over time; when it needs to be an overall ban on all devices. So thank you for your precious input.

  4. I don’t use Tic-Toc and never have, but I found out some of my grandkids do! I am going to share this with my children so that they are aware of the danger this program is putting them in!! It is very sad that children are the targets of attacks by big government and the statistics on the disappearances of children per year being around 800,000 is mind-boggling!! If this app is a contributor then we as parents MUST act to protect them!!

    1. Thanks Sophye/Gail… we do need to check up on our kids, of all ages and ranges, and make sure they are safe, and thus the article. I pray to each a wise word of encouragement to our young people.

  5. Thanks so much for the information. I had no clue that Tik Tok was an international app much less had so many variables we need to consider when allowing our children to utilize. I think it’s going to be difficult to try to limit their use as this is an application that is glorified by millions upon millions of users. I’m wondering if any of our younger Compumatrix team members may be able to research this and figure out what safeguards we could put into place in the event we will allow our children to use it?

    1. Excellent idea corchi124… I too hope someone can come up with something to make this app. less dangerous, since so many use it.

  6. Don’t we all including our children have enough to worry about these days. WOW!! It seems to me that Tic-Tok has more information then my bank has. I try not to give out anymore information that I have to and even that scares me. For this the government should have stepped in before now, if not them then maybe the states should have a ban on this Tic-Tok.
    Boy, I am so glad my kids are grown, I just hope my kids watch out for my grandchildren.
    What is the world coming to, and please leave the precious children alone. Nothing is private anymore.

    1. Dear Erma Ash, it seems the Ban was just for Federal govt. usage only and not for the rest of us. But, China has already files a suit against this ban, and it seems the world might just agree with them, and I wonder why?

  7. Wow, I have never heard of Tic Tok before reading this. Being of advanced age and having limited connection to young folks, I am somewhat in the dark with what is trending with the younger generations. We now live in an age of electronic and cyber advancement which is growing faster by the day. Things that were never even possible 10,20, or even a few years ago are now happening, and with this advancement comes both good and bad. One must always be vigilant to safeguard personal information and question things they are not familiar with.
    I am learning new things daily about the cyber world we now live in. The one trusted and constant I can count on is Compumatrix, with honest and devoted personnel at the helm.

  8. Thank you Sam for this in depth information about the Tic ToK app. My grandchildren are a bit young for this but it is a lesson for young old & everyone in between. Read the agreements before you download or agree to potentially harmful terms. Our Children & grandchildren are precious. Having an app that tracks them that is not under the control of the child’s parent/guardian is more than upsetting. Guarding privacy, information & providing security is paramount in this wild west of the internet & phone applications. Parents & Grandparents need to read & pay close attention to what is downloaded to phones, & computers our youth have access to.

  9. Thanks Sam. We need a lot more security when using these social apps. Tik Tok is just the tip of the iceberg. Open the source code in any advertisement or photo on a website and read all the information. There are tons of re-directs as well as the code itself.

    My blood gets going when I see ads on the same page I am typing my password into our CDAP/DEX or into other sites for access. Add the whole Google program we download our KYC info into and you have the potential of getting hacked. Cookies taste great but they don’t help with your security. While your at it, send Alexis back where it came from. Ugh!

    Too many people jump on the “it’s free” bandwagon without at least a little look at what they are downloading. Take the extra step and check out what you, your kids or grandkids are downloading. We all love the technology but do be careful. When it comes to spying, there is a lot of “smoke and mirrors”.

    1. So, so True Joe! I too often check an apps. code and it is quite apparent what is going on, we are being constantly tracked and watched, for profit’s sake; but I felt Tic Tok went way beyond this… thanks again for the review and the thoughts

  10. Thank you, Sam and Jody, for this urgently needed information. My children just recently started sharing TikTok with me. Like many of you, I have grown children and young grandchildren that love it. With children, TikTok requires constant monitoring as some of its content is vulgar and disgusting in my opinion, and yes some of it is very entertaining and fun. The clue Catherine gave is huge when she said that Congress had just passed a law banning TikTok. After reading your article, it will no longer be in our home; as you said, it is much too dangerous.

  11. Wow, this is very timely for me, as my son and my grandchildren are becoming big into using this platform. I had heard vague rumors about this not being the best to use, and now I am sure of it! Also never knew you could make money in exchange for your info – that would be a huge draw!!! I am now going to send your info to my son right away. I so appreciate your report giving all the information.

  12. I have heard about these unpleasant situations caused to Tik Tok users. Here in Brazil young people are using a lot, and unfortunately, many parents do not look for information about applications that their children use.

  13. awesome stuff Sam seriously have to caution all on the internet about ease of Information transfer and how much everyday stuff we use is actually being utilized to capture our information and see our habits and eventually for a lack of better terms take our life history and take what they want ?? I am glad i am not so computer literate at this — great read thank you —

  14. Sam, this is definitely a scary app, for the information that is gleaned from the downloading of it. I have a friend who is an adult with four children. The first time I saw her interacting with someone else on tic tock, they were singing side beside and moving in sync. My heart dropped, and I thought, what are you doing. There are so many lonely adults and teens that I can see how they become addicted to this program. It is a grievous thing, even being fun in a few aspects, that those who use this app may be spied on. Time for us to take a stand for right against the wrong.

  15. I like watching TicToc funny ones. But there are many should I say offensive and stupid which I plain ignore.
    If it spies on us by collecting data, I say all social media and apps do that.
    Thanks for the info on Tic Toc. It is not of my interest so no problem in downloading it.

  16. The Chinese communist party does not give a crap about individual privacy nor safety or even quality of life, They are Rogue form of illegal government self-appointed and came to power. I still cannot believe that the people of China were unable to overthrow and install a constitutional based government. Then after doing some research, in general, if you keep the general public engaged in some sort of daily mundane routine on their life with a mix of entertainment and work/social activity in a very controlled fashion, it would be impossible for any group or individual to get out of such controlled grip. The Elixer of control is too much hence they now want it to further beyond china and wants to control worldwide using the same tactics what better ways than to introduce apps that can be installed for a simple reason by not giving out their ulterior motives behind it?
    I think the Bottomline lies on the people unless the mass awakens from this distraction, soon we will all lose our freedom and liberty that we proudly boast today

  17. When I first got on the internet, I use to pull up the card game solitaire all the time. I felt I couldn’t turn off the computer until I won at least one game. One day I realized how addictive this could be and I just stopped. Since then, I ask myself before loading anything if it’s necessary, and is it safe? These recent downloads seem to be more and more suspicious. I can’t wait until I can get my Compumatrix computer! That computer will only run sensitive information such as our Compumatrix business.

  18. Oh Stephen your habit of playing a game of solitaire until winning, before shutting your computer off really hit home for me! This obviously is addicting, because I too can’t stop playing until I actually win a game, and sometimes that can take a long time especially if playing at a higher level! Time to wean off and find another stress releaser so I can be an example to our grandchildren and even one great grandchild 🙂

  19. Sam when I saw the title of your blog I was hoping you would discuss the negative side of TicTok. My kids like many others love to make continuous videos to publish to TicTok. I have heard rumblings of how the Chinese are using this data and it sound very scary. Congress should pass a bill that wont allow other countries to access our data. This would help the situation. Many parents have no idea this is going on in their households.

  20. Personally I only see a dark side of this app if you spend too much time consuming it. There’s plenty of “bad stuff” all throughout the internet, so much so that at times you will run across it when you’re not even looking for it. This definitely makes it difficult to recommend as with any app where those you use it solely to consume information will most likely run across some “bad” things. For parents this could be a nightmare as kids can be exposed to things that generally speaking, they shouldn’t be..

  21. just reading thru the replies and see so much in keeping as much privacy as can and then you go out in public even in pandemic times and watch youth almost not do anything unless it has to do with their phone — just scary to me to think on this app and many other apps just for their info ?? — scary yes it is —

  22. I used Tiktok for a while. Just to watch, not to make videos. They’re very funny and some are very interesting and creative. I’ve read some notices about this dark side of Tiktok and it’s a pity, because the moment we all are living needs something fun and entertaining. It’s a shame that some evil people take advantage of others for profit.
    Unfortunately, I had to remove Tiktok from my phone, to preserv my security. I missed it because it was cool to watch. But I try to think that Tiktok it’s only an app, we all can make fun moments on our lifes without tecnology too.

  23. This revelation, while disappointing, did not surprise me. The amount of marketing that tick tock spent in its early days was unreal. They were a dominant marketing force on other social media platforms, but the running joke was that noone was using it. Suddenly it caught fire, but the amount of money invested for an apparently dead social media platform makes sense now that we know it was state backed.

  24. I learned a lot from this article about TikTok; I learned things that I did not know and sent the article to my daughter who absolutely loves TikTok. Surprisingly she stopped it and isn’t using it anymore as the amount of private data that can be collected is enormous. People should be very careful especially when they involve their children in the videos. In this society, sadly, children are targets.
    TikTok filled a need during the lockdowns that many experienced. Many people were just plain bored and wanted something to do. Some of the TikToks were very entertaining; others were just vulgar and combining alcohol, obscenities and children was just plain wrong. I no longer use TikTok for these reasons; I am now on a quest to find other fun things to do with the kids.

  25. Thank you for this information Sam. I have children who have been on Tic toc some but they will not be using it anymore I can assure you. It is a shame that governments feel the need to intrude on its citizens’ lives to the extent they do.

  26. Thank you Sam ! This is valuable information. I am not particularly enthusiastic about smartphone apps, especially social networks. I try to install only the essential applications I need and nothing more. Everything else I prefer to use on my desktop or notebook. And particularly, I don’t usually rely on information sharing apps, especially if they’re installed on smartphones or computers that we use for work.

  27. I admit our privacy information data are terribly misused these years not only by software apps but also by some institutions, banks, etc. As we know, almost all famous IT companies have this kind of issues. Google, Facebook, Apple, Firefox, … but unfortunately we are still using their products. Why not suspect the relationship between these companies and their governments? It was reported several years ago that even the Germany Prime Minister Merkel has been monitored with mobile apps by US intelligence agencies. These days I read the news that Bytedance is having tictoc being an American company. Maybe tomorrow tictoc will be an american tool. What a crazy and changing world!

  28. Thank you very much, Sam, for posting this incredibly important information! I don’t use Tic Tok, but I have heard about it many times in the media. I understood how wildly popular it is, but I hadn’t given it a second thought.

    To me, it just seemed to be a clever variation of YouTube that catered to young adults and children, with its’ short video format that matches declining attention spans. Thanks to you I am now aware of the true nature of the Tic Tok platform! I will share this powerful information to help those I find who are at risk.

  29. I use Tik Tok almost everyday and was not aware of how much privacy is invaded while using it. I have heard people say that China is taking our information while we use the app, but I though that meant they just had access to our silly videos posted or the videos we have liked. It is very interesting how Tik Tok is using this children app to take information. It definitely makes me more cautious when I decide to download an app in the future.

  30. Sam, your powerful article struck a nerve with readers and for a good reason! This is timely information that can help plenty of people, including Compumatrix members and the people they know.

    I just received an Associated Press news notification on my phone, with this headline: “Trump says he’ll act to ban Tik Tok in the U.S. as soon as Saturday”. The article said, among many other things, that India banned the Tik Tok app in July and that other countries are taking action against Tik Toc too. (I just couldn’t resist writing “Tik Tok too” FDLOL)

    Seriously though, the U.S. armed forces have already banned their employees from putting it on phones that have been issued by the US Government. I’m proud to say that I got the scoop on Tik Tok, here First, on the Compumatrix Blog!!! Nice job Sam!

    1. Totally agree Kevin along with everyone who thinks this software should not be used by anyone in the US who have younger children. Like so many other programs it is addictive and when you peel back the layers the problem of capturing and dispensing your information tells you it is being used or will be at some point down the road. Thanks for the update Kevin.

  31. Read the blog more than once.Thank you both Sam and Jodi.I am not sure but it may well be a Chinese government entity that collects all the data and passes in to the authorities.In any case it is scary to know what all they collect about the user without his/her knowledge to the extent of minute to minute movement.very unnerving situation I find this to be and glad US govt.is taking action. India has banned it and several others but for a very different reason.This app should by all means be shunned by us.

  32. Thank you for this informative blog. Yesterday I read that Microsoft is interested in buying part of TicToc. Maybe that is a good move but on the other hand the big teccompanies in the world have proven time after time that they also use advanced applications to steal our private data. Like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google. They spy on us every minute of the day.

  33. this is strong important info in this blog and the replies go hand in hand — i just heard again this morning that tiktok is getting closer and closer to being banned in the USA and honestly knowing what little i do in international affairs and Freedom here in America — gotta believe we as Americans need to tighten our security Belt perse’ and start Securely covering more than just whats easy — or what we have left to enjoy will be Nothing —

  34. I don’t know if it is a good thing that Trump closes TicToc. Maybe it feels like a good action but it doens’t mean that spying on us and selling our private data is over with it. When that is the goal Trump also has to close down all the big and powerful social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google etc. But that will not happen I am afraid.

  35. I use Tic Tok every day, but I am also on Cheez and Video Star. I love social media because I think youth should have outlets to express themselves. I think it is very important to their mental health especially in this quarantine time, but youth also need to be protected. I think if under eighteen parents should at least check up every once and awhile on their children’s accounts to make sure nothing shady is going on as well as making sure nothing personal is being disclosed.

  36. I was about to step away from my computer. A notification popped up on my phone with the (Bloomberg) headline, “The President signed a pair of executive orders prohibiting U.S. residents from doing any business with Tik Tok.” I decided to sit down and post this timely comment.

    It supports the premise of this exceptional blog post with real-time information. Thank you again, Samuel, for making us aware of the dangers of using Tic Tok. I’m doing what I can to get the word out!

  37. it is past my computer ability at this time however have to agree with the movement of monitoring tik tok and honestly anything that is controlled from the communist based governments — sorry not being political but being Free all my life and studying the different parts of the “isms” i will stick with Freedom and Capitalism — less govt. the better — seriously jmho — rj

  38. this also has to do with latest blog and shows how important doing global business with many different parts and governments and philosophies and how trying to keep all at ease and get where your business is workable and accessible at any given moment and this kinda shows it is not always a great business session for all — great read again with great info — thank you

  39. The Trump administration wants to ban Tic Toc, a viral Chinese made social media app that you can use to make short videos. That app has millions of followers in the world. The American authorities fear that the app can be used for stealing sensitive data however there has never been proof that this is the case. Other countries, like Indonesia, India and Bangladesh also banned the app but for different reasons as the USA. They think that the app can spread pornography and blasphemy and they want to protect their populations against it.

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