Danger, danger, danger, and Douyin! That lights up in red flashing warning letters above the space transporter’s hatch. We’re not here with Terry Pratchett, especially since the target group of this app can do something with a burning candle in a freezer and musical dances. We are once again talking about TikTok and the still hyped social media platform from China, aka Douyin. It is an app that some Facebookers in their 40s might think of as an alien spaceship. Because where are the groups and where are the comments below. This post is not about songs, challenges, or trends that inspire many but simply about an evaluation of the phenomenon. How dangerous is TikTok, and why if TikTok is completely safe? TikTok is extremely dangerous. The app definitely has to be somewhere in between. Life is a danger, and why shouldn’t the app be? We identify two specific dangers:
Danger: Warnings about data protection at TikTok
Influential people have already warned against TikTok. Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman described the creative fun as a “parasitic app.” He relates this primarily to data protection and a “fingerprinting technology,” as you can read here on TC. The first comment underneath is probably meant funny, according to which two Chinese people in trench coats follow him after he installed TikTok on his Huawei. We wanted to take a closer look at this.
First of all, it is an issue that a newly created profile is public, and you can be contacted. If you are looking for TikTok and data protection, you will now find many grey assumptions and fears without concrete evidence. Especially because of the unclear background, nobody knows the Chinese maker. You can only find one address in the imprint at 10100 Venice Blvd in Culver City, California.
And then there is the data protection declaration for other countries. This makes it very clear what is recorded and with whom it is shared. You can read it directly and, aside from all “gray fears,” is already quite extensive: Profile data, user data, and content are collected. If you read the entire explanation, you get a rather queasy feeling.
Danger from TikTok: the app is so damn good
How please can there be any danger that TikTok is so good? You could garnish this paragraph with data that every 14-year-old spends around 25 hours a day in the app (stats say it’s probably one). In any case, you load the app in two minutes, state your interests, and yes, nothing. You can instantly swipe wildly through all content in the “Home” tab. And it is precisely this extremely simple wiping that defines the content. There is nothing to follow people first and not to set up an account right away. You can consume it immediately. There is criticism for the easy accessibility and that you can also register under 13, although the parents would first have to agree. People use it to become TikTok influencer and buy TikTok followers to take the lead.
TikTok is also aware of the risk of overconsumption of content. That is why there is a sub-item in the app settings called Digital Wellbeing. You can limit your screen time there. The danger of addiction from Tiktok is limited to wasting time, as there are at least no purchases. You pay with your data, which brings us to point 1.
As a third point about the dangers of TikTok, one could add that creator on TikTok is always exposed to the risk of getting stalkers or being psychologically stressed by bullying and the like. This danger is only mentioned here because there is a lot that can be explained and warned about. It should also be noted about all networks, whether Instagram or Snapchat.
Is TikTok dangerous? We are not a sensational medium here, and accordingly, we leave the question open today. But you should also keep your eyes open and form your own opinion. It is undisputed that the platform is extremely popular with young users and that a lot can be deduced from this alone.