TikTok App Privacy Violation Investigation
How secure do you think your data is when you are using TikTok?
It would appear, if a recent announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is anything to go by, that your account on this popular social media platform may not be as private as you think. The FCC commissioner Brendan Carr even went as far as to say that he wants Google and Apple to remove the app from their platforms. While this is unlikely to happen, the commission has raised enough of an alarm to spark a nationwide investigation into the privacy of TikTok users. If you frequently use TikTok, your data may be at risk and you may qualify to join a TikTok privacy violation investigation.
Why is the FCC upset with TikTok
While suspicions about TikTok’s data security are nothing new, the latest revelations appear to confirm what some people have long suspected. Buzzfeed accessed leaked audio from 80 internal TikTok meetings, which showed that the app’s parent company, ByteDance, was repeatedly accessing private U.S. TikTok user data. Carr then posted a Tweet in which he claimed that TikTok “harvests swathes of sensitive data that new reports show is being accessed in Beijing.”
What TikTok Knows about You
What can TikTok actually learn about its users from the data it collects? The truth is that the app starts to collect your data as soon as you access it – even if you are just browsing and don’t have an account. Once you create an account, the platform gathers information such as your IP address, search history, the content of your messages, what you view and for how long. It tracks your interaction with advertisers and “infers” factors such as age, gender and interests based on the data it gathers. If your device is enabled for biometric access control, TikTok can also access your facial images, voiceprints and fingerprints. Ostensibly, the app uses this data in a completely innocent way, to enable it to customize the content it serves to users. However, it is still concerning that the parent company has the power to gather this much information on US citizens.
How TikTok Tracks You
When you sign up, TikTok gathers your email address, phone number and date of birth. It then collects any content you create – even if you never post it publicly – as well as all the associated metadata. It collects text, images and video from your device’s clipboard if you copy and paste it to or from the app. This is all we know for sure. Beyond that, since TikTok does not specify exactly what data it collects, it is best to assume that it could be any and everything.
TikTok Privacy Settings
It is not so easy to just change your security settings if you want to prevent TikTok from collecting all this information. TikTok’s data tracking is necessary if you want to enjoy all the features and benefits of the platform. However, there are some settings that enable you to keep some control over your data. You can turn off personalized ads, for example. You can also request your data and find out what the app knows about you. You simply go to your profile and open your settings. Go to Privacy, Personalize and Data, and then tap Download TikTok Data.
You can also set your account to Private, so that only people you approve can follow you. However, people who use TikTok don’t want to limit their functionality and audience in this way. The idea is to get your content to as wide an audience as possible.
Do You qualify to be part of the TikTok Investigation
Shamis & Gentile, P.A. is taking part in an ongoing investigation into TikTok’s data practices in order to determine whether the company has violated its users’ privacy. If you think you could qualify to join the investigation, first consider the following questions:
- Are you a California resident?
- Do you have the TikTok app installed on your Apple iPhone?
- Did you use the TikTok in-app browser after April, 2021 on your iPhone?
If the answer to all three of these questions is “Yes,” we want to hear from you. Contact us and book a consultation with a TikTok privacy violation lawyer.
About Shamis & Gentile
Shamis & Gentile, P.A. has and continues to provide outstanding legal services in the Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, Illinois, New York and Texas communities. Our seasoned attorneys are some of the most innovative and progressive attorneys in the profession. Shamis & Gentile, P.A. has the resources, infrastructure and staff to successfully represent large putative classes. The attorneys and staff are not simply litigators, but directors of creating successful results with the ultimate level of satisfaction by the clients.