TikTok

Risk Score
High

App Details

TikTok is an app for creating short music videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds on Android and iOS devices. The app was launched in 2017 by ByteDance, for markets outside of China. TikTok's users can create short videos of themselves with music from a wide variety of different genres in the background.

A filter allows them to be sped up or slowed down. The videos can then be uploaded to TikTok. TikTok's "react" feature is used to film user's own reactions to a specific video, over which their reaction is placed in a small window that is movable around the screen, which is actually quite cool. There is also a "duet" feature which allows users to film a video aside another video.

TikTok's accounts can be set as "private" and users can choose whether any other user, or only their "friends", may interact with them through the app via comments, messages, or "react" or "duet" videos.

TikTok claims to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse user’s interests and preferences through their interactions with the content, and display a personalised content feed to each user. Whether this is clearly pointed out in child-friendly terms and conditions is a moot point.

TikTok is being used by high profile football clubs as a way of engaging fans.

Why is it a risk?

TikTok was the most popular iOS app for the first quarter of 2019 with 11.7 million downloads, more than YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. TikTok was recently given a temporary ban in India, after the developers Beijing Bytedance Technology were accused of encouraging pornography and exposing kids to danger from sexual predators.

Following a plea by its developers, the ban was overturned and TikTok is now available again.

According to Wikipedia "Journalists in several countries have raised privacy concerns about the app, not least because it is popular with children and may expose them to sexual predators. Several users have reported endemic cyberbullying on TikTok, including racist and anti-Semitic abuse. Some users may find it hard to stop using TikTok."

In 2018, an addiction-reduction feature was was added to TikTok, which encourages users to take a break every 90 minutes.

We believe that for younger users in particular, TikTok requires extreme caution due to its addictive nature, cyber-abuse and potential exposure to predators.

29.7.2019 TikTok makers to manufacture smartphones. Mashable article here.

11.9.2019 Most adults have never heard of TikTok. That’s by design, article here.

9.7.2019 The rise and rise of TikTok: how a Chinese video creation app democratised content in India here.

7.7.2019 "Adults don't get it": why TikTok is facing greater scrutiny, Guardian article here.

7.7.2019 TikTok's young fans 'exploited' for digital gifts, BBC report here.

3.1.2019 Congress MP Shash Tharoor claims Tiktok is collecting Indian uder data, company denies allegation here.

TikTok launches Device Management Feature in India To Give Users ‘complete’ Control Of Their Account, details here.

TikTok Responds After Tamil Nadu Woman Commits Suicide In TikTok Video, Full Statement Here

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