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7 Ways TikTok Is Monitoring American Users

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7 Ways TikTok Is Monitoring American Users

TikTok is monitoring American users, but what is it gathering? The popular social media app has been the subject of quite a bit of political debate and conjecture. However, what data is gathered is a bit more nebulous when looking at things. Rather than spend time spinning wheels, let’s take a closer look at what is being taken when you use the app. As one of the main social media networks in use today, there is quite a bit of data being collected.

User-Generated Content

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What you make is prime data for TikTok.

TikTok is monitoring American users through the content they make. Let’s face it, a social media platform lives or dies based on content. Users are constantly whirring away making things like comments, posts, and so much more. One of the biggest ways TikTok is looking at American users is with how they engage other users on the platform.

Messages

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The platform is looking at who you’re talking to when using it.

Many social media platforms have a way of directly messaging other users. This makes for a simple and effective way of connecting with peers, content creators, or other like-minded individuals. However, this is also one of the ways TikTok is monitoring American users. The platform is consistently looking at what you send and who receives it.

Items in Your Device Clipboard

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You might be using your device clipboard for personal uses, but TikTok is taking the data

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One of the top ways TikTok is monitoring American users has nothing to do with the platform. Whether you’re on a mobile phone or a computer, you’re likely leveraging your device’s clipboard. It is an easy way to copy large blocks of text, images, or even important links. However, when signing up for TikTok, this is one thing you agree to let them see at all times.

Purchase Information

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TikTok builds profiles based on your purchase history.

There has been no shortage of viral goods that pop up on TikTok. You’ve likely seen some floating around on the internet, reposted on other social media sites. However, one of the top ways TikTok is monitoring American users is by taking a closer look at what you’re purchasing. This isn’t solely reserved for items on TikTok’s shop either, but tracking cookies can see when you’re checking links from other content creators.

Phone Contacts

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Your friends and family are just one data point that TikTok collects.

Ostensibly, this method of data collection is meant to connect you with your friends and family. In practice, this is one of the more concerning ways TikTok is monitoring American users. When you create an account, TikTok already has permission to pull from your phone contacts. There isn’t really a way to opt out of this in the United States. The only way to avoid it is to simply not download the app.

Social Media Contacts

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Instagram and other platforms are likely a prime target for TikTok’s data gathering practices.

Another, and arguably more nefarious, way TikTok is monitoring American users comes down to your profiles on other social media sites. You’re likely using platforms like X, Instagram, Facebook, and others. As such, you likely already have a network on those platforms. Importing that sort of user data is putting a big target on your back, and can create a larger profile for threat actors to target.

Proof of Age

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You or your children might have their photo IDs in TikTok’s database.

Kids don’t need to be on social media, but that’s an argument for another time. One of the top ways TikTok is monitoring American users comes down to proof of age. You have to be at least 13 to use the TikTok app. From there, if you suddenly turn of age, you’ll need to provide proof in the form of a government photo ID. Ideally, they’d be using those to confirm your age and deleting them. However, chances are those are kept on file in perpetuity.

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