Ask Kurt: Are TiKTok videos safe to watch outside of the app?
Who doesn’t receive TikTok videos sent by friends or family via text or email, leading us to watch them on our current web browser? “Even if you don’t have a TikTok account, it can make you vulnerable.
Bellamarie M, who frequently watches TikTok videos outside of the app, wrote to me concerned about this issue:
“None of our devices have the TikTok app, but my husband uses Facebook and occasionally watches a TikTok video, mostly using the phone. Can his data/usage be captured just by watching or the app needs to be installed on the device being used?? Our phones have a security app installed that scans for security issues, but I wanted to get your opinion on the matter.”
When it comes to our personal information on social media, we really have to be careful, especially when it comes to TikTok. You see, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, which is required by law to provide the data and information it collects to the Chinese government at all times. TikTok’s fairly advanced algorithm can easily track your search history, which makes me wonder what the Chinese government knows about those of us who use TikTok.
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Does TikTok follow you outside the app?
Bellamarie M’s concerns are valid, as TikTok is known to be a bigger threat to privacy and security than any other social media app available today. TikTok is known to track the behavior of all its users, namely the types of videos they watch, like and share.
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When answering Bellamarie’s question about watching TikTok videos on Facebook, there are a few things you should be aware of:
1) Sometimes you will see videos with “TikTok” logo playing to Facebook. If you are watching this video on Facebook, it may be a live ripped video on Facebook. This extracted video does not connect to TikTok; therefore, TikTok cannot track you in any way.
2) You can see a thumbnail with a play icon in Facebook, with a gray bar below indicating that the source is TikTok. If you click on that play icon, it will take you to TikTok on their webpage or in their app.
Now, if you have an account with TikTok and you’re taken to your login page or app to watch this, there’s a follow-up going on.
However, suppose you are taken to the unlogged TikTok webpage to watch the video without logging into a TikTok account. In this case, TikTok could again follow you.
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According to research by Consumer Reports, TikTok tracks certain information, such as your IP address and select browsing history, while you use the app or the website, whether you are logged into a TikTok account. A spokesperson confirmed, however, that they only follow people without a TikTok account for “aggregated reporting”, not intended to inundate them with ads – instead of “improving the efficiency” of TikTok’s own advertising department. TikTok by examining their likes and dislikes.
What information does TikTok collect?
To our knowledge, TikTok is not trying to hack into your bank accounts or tamper with your social security. Instead, they track your behavior on the app and across the internet to determine your interests, likes, and dislikes.
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Thanks to pixels, other companies can use this information shared with TikTok for promotional purposes. If you watch TikTok videos exclusively on another platform, such as Facebook or Instagram, and you never created a TikTok account, they have access to much less of your information than they otherwise would.
Use TikTok at your own risk
Any concerns about using TikTok are certainly understandable, and while for some it’s irresistible, keep in mind that the smartest way if you’re going to use TikTok is to limit as much information as you can. which TikTok can access.
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These settings limit the amount of information TikTok can access about you.
- Disable sharing of your Facebook contacts and friends with TikTok
- Opt out of personalized ad targeting
- Keep your profile anonymous
- Limit who finds you.
- Keep your account private by clicking profile->then clicking menu bar->then clicking settings and privacy->then clicking. privacy-> then enable private account
Learn how to adjust all of your privacy settings on TikTok by searching for “privacy on TikTok” by clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the top of CyberGuy.com.
Find out everything TikTok knows about you
Anyone who has a TikTok account has the right to request any data TikTok has collected from them. To do this:
- Launch the TikTok app
- Go to your profile in the bottom right, then tap the three-line menu in the top right corner
- Tap Settings & privacy > Privacy > tap Download your data
- TikTok will send you a link in a few days to download your data
- The link expires 4 days after being sent
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Keep in mind that there is a lot of data TikTok collects that could later be used against you. The more you use TikTok, the more they know what causes a reaction in you. TikTok learns and saves the videos that capture your attention the most and the videos that you interact with or like. All it takes is for Communist China to decide to take over TikTok to feed you propaganda. The scariest thing is that you’ll never know what’s going on.
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