Be Concerned: TikTok is tracking you


Ella Ashby

A person using TikTok on their phone.

Ella Ashby, Opinion Writer

Currently sitting at the top of the App Store’s entertainment ranking is TikTok, a video sharing app that anyone and everyone has at least heard of that’s currently making millions of dollars every day.
The app is full of all types of short videos, from lip-syncing to dancing to memes, and is advertised on its App Store page as “A personalized video feed based on what you like, watch, and share,” which sounds like a nice way to pass some time, but unfortunately TikTok is constantly collecting your data to lure you into watching more content.
TikTok is undoubtedly very good at drawing in viewers. Coming from someone who uses it, I can say that I spend way more time on TikTok than I should. Each video in my feed seems to be exactly what I was looking for. But unfortunately as I looked into what sort of data TikTok is tracking, I was uncomfortable to see just how much this app knows about me. Even worse, it’s totally unknown where TikTok may be sending that data. Even if I were to stop using it, TikTok would still undoubtedly be collecting and sharing my information through third-party trackers on other websites.
TikTok makes most of its money off of ad revenue on their app, but in order for that to be possible, they need people to actually watch those ads. If you use TikTok, you know that among the videos in your feed, you often see ‘sponsored’ videos, these are ads, usually for companies or products, but anyone can actually pay to sponsor their videos. TikTok uses your information to suggest ads to you that its algorithms think you may be more likely to buy.
TikTok claims that it makes no money off the information of its users, but it still reserves the right to do whatever they want with the information they collect from you, which could include selling it to advertisers all over the internet. With TikTok’s use of third party trackers, it’s impossible to know when you’re being watched. TikTok tracks more of your data than any other social media app out there according to a study by marketing company URL Genius.
If you’re worried about your cybersecurity, there are a few solutions, but unfortunately there isn’t much you can do. Downloading a VPN, and using secure browsers keeps trackers from collecting your information. Overall, while TikTok is a fun app to use, I’m not comfortable with what they may be doing behind our backs.