TikTok’s days as a social media app and platform may already be numbered, but it still has a massive user base and it works great until now. However, because of the platform’s popularity, many shady app developers are taking advantage of it. They’re using it as a means to spread malware entities and scams.
Having said that, it’s not surprising why some users question, “Is TikTok safe?” In an effort to answer the question, we’ve created this article. We will also discuss one notorious threat that’s associated with the platform: the TikTok malware.
What is TikTok?
For the benefit of those who haven’t used the platform yet, TikTok is a popular social media app designed to allow users to share and upload short videos for other users to like, share, and comment on. Since it was first introduced, the app has greatly improved. From being a simple lip-sync app, it now has a massive database of short video clips.
Owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok is a platform that is more popular among users aged 13 to 24. In 2019, it was the most downloaded app on the App Store with more than 33 million downloads.
Is TikTok a Safe Platform?
Many Chinese apps have been placed under investigation due to certain issues. While some spy on your activities, others were found to be stealing sensitive information. Now, even if it is developed by a Chinese company, this does not mean that TikTok is an app that harms users.
In China, TikTok is different, taking the name Douyin. But this does not mean it’s something to be worried about. Perhaps, it’s only because China has this reputation of looking over and spying its population. Douyin is probably the developer’s lesser intrusive version of the app.
Because of the issues and news involving the app, experts are advising everyone to delete TikTok. But it won’t be that easy. The app has been downloaded millions of times, and people are relying on it to keep their sanity during this health crisis.
When asked about their opinion on the safety issues revolving TikTok, the company’s spokesperson said that protecting the privacy of user data is of the utmost importance to them. In fact, the app only collects lesser user information in some countries. They do not and would not even give away any piece of information to the Chinese government, they added.
What to Do about the TikTok Malware?
Aside from collecting data and sending it back to its Chinese developers, there have been reports that TikTok is a malware. As a matter of fact, the world’s biggest hacking organization is warning the world to uninstall it as soon as possible. That’s a pretty scary warning considering that the warning is coming from a renowned hacking group.
In the official Twitter account of the group, they’re warning people about the harmful effects of the app. They even posted a link to a Reddit post that shows how the app works like a malware entity. According to the Reddit post, TikTok is like a data collection service that is “thinly-veiled as a social network.” This means that if there is an API to retrieve your information, then the developers are using it. Among these pieces of information are:
- Phone Hardware (CPU type, hardware IDs, screen dimensions, memory usage, disk space, etc.)
- Other apps you have installed
- Everything network-related (IP, local IP, router mac address, your mac address, Wi-Fi access point name)
- Information whether or not your device is rooted or jailbroken
How to Remove the TikTok Malware?
In case you want to get rid of TikTok and uninstall it from your device, follow the steps below.
Deleting Your TikTok Account:
- Launch the TikTok app on your device.
- Tap on Me button.
- Tap on the three-dot icon on the upper-right corner of the app.
- Navigate to the Manage My Account section.
- Press Delete account.
- Verify the deletion of the app by entering the OTP sent to your mobile number.
Uninstall TikTok on Android:
- Go to Settings and select Apps.
- Locate the TikTok app on the list and tap on it.
- Press Uninstall.
Uninstall TikTok on iOS:
- Locate the app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Press and hold the app’s icon.
- Tap the Delete App option.
- If the app wiggles, tap the cross icon on the upper left corner of the icon. This will uninstall the app.
Take note though, that once your TikTok account has been deleted, you can no longer access your posts and the accounts of the people you used to follow. So, think carefully before deleting. You might end up with creating a new account soon.
TikTok Safety Usage Tips
Like other social media platforms, there are features you can use to have a safe TikTok experience. For parents who are considered about their kids using the app for hours, the app can send alerts if it has been used for more than two hours. The restricted mode can also be enabled to ensure inappropriate content is filtered out.
Also, TikTok accounts can be set to private so only the creator of the videos can see them. With a private account, users can deny or approve users. Incoming messages can also be limited to followers only.
As parents, you have to understand that even with a private account, the user’s profile photo, biography, and username are still visible to others. But again, you can always manage who can direct message and comment on your child’s videos.
TikTok might not really meet all the requirements to be considered a malware entity. However, based on the Reddit post and the warnings by the hacking organization Anonymous, the app seems downright evil. Now, the decision to whether or not delete it is up to you. Of course, you can uninstall it if you feel that the app is crossing the line and invading your privacy. But if you’re enjoying it, then let it be.
What are your thoughts about TikTok being classified as a malware entity? Are you planning to uninstall it, too? Let us know what you plan to do with the app in the comments!