Social media is the dawn of the new age, where masses of the world’s population cling for dear life onto their social platforms. It’s true that the digital age has brought on some major up-rise in the right path, but not all that’s online is being used for good purposes.
Cybersecurity during this digital age is extremely important, especially if you’re bound to the internet. How you use your time online is of great importance, and at times spark a number of controversial interests.
This is especially where apps and media platforms are concerned. Among them stands tall among the many controversial platforms, and it’s none other than Chinese grown, TikTok.
TikTok is a Chinese branded app that first launched in China 2016. It soon hit the markets worldwide in 2018.
Just imagine its impact; being launched only for 2 years internationally, and managing to score 800 million users from countries around the world with 1.5 billion downloads on the App and Google Play stores.
Every kid, celebrity and a few army brats have now managed to find themselves drawn to the app. It allows millions of users all over the world to make funny or dramatic videos of themselves, post it, and then harvest the most likes. This ultimately gets you into the race for reaching to the top.
But, the burning questions are, “Is TikTok safe to use?” or “Is TikTok a plan for worldwide mass surveillance?”
Before I move ahead, ask yourselves this, if one media sharing app can manage to score millions of users to make videos and post it publically, how and why can’t it be used as a spy mechanism? What makes you think that apps don’t log multiple user data or share it?
First, let’s talk about what we already know about the app.
- 800 million users
- 1.5 billion downloads
- Available in 155 countries
- Users spend a minimum of 1 hour online every day
- More than a million views per day
- The TikTok app is used by 90% of subscribers daily
- TikTok collects multiple data from all users with minors being among the list.
Now, looking at all these facts, would you call it a successful app or a red cybersecurity flag? I’d say both. It has successfully managed to avail the most users and at the same time, keep their users in their loop.
According to the Federal MP and chairman of parliament’s intelligence, they are quite alert and fearful that this Chinese app might be actively sharing its user’s information to Beijing. TikTok has been deemed by many to pose as an international security threat.
The social media platform and its hidden surveillance threats
It’s no secret that there have been many apps like TikTok that use facial recognition, have access to your camera, to your microphone, and even your whereabouts using GPS tracking. When apps ask you for permission to access your camera, your picture library, mic and Google account, you should probably run for your life.
This is especially when your camera or mic has nothing to do with using a certain app. The thing is, most users download apps that they know nothing about; could be a media sharing platform or a gaming one.
And, if the app has access to your camera or mic with permission from you, they can easily spy on your surroundings and dialogues, even if you’re not active on it.
If you take a look at WIRED, they explain how numerous apps and platforms have access to various information they’re not supposed and what kind of information they collect through it. Always think twice before agreeing with any permission notices.
So, are you really being watched?
There are so many teens or underage kids that have full access to apps and social media platforms. Most of them are unaware of these underlying issues, and bat an eye towards it.
The sad fact is that even after knowing that many apps are born and bred in countries like China, and shared among many other countries with the strictest surveillance laws…our kids couldn’t care less.
But, can we blame them?
Try taking away a sweet treat from a 6 year old. Chances are you’d probably experience hours of screaming, crying and flying objects. Sweets are an addiction, and similarly, apps like TikTok have all of the world’s teenagers drawn to their screens.
As far as the world knows, China is one of the heaviest surveillanced countries in the world, and it goes without saying that if anything digital is made in China that you own, you become the product.
This is why cybersecurity and cyber related information is so important. Keeping TikTok aside, there are many other social sites that monitor every ounce of data you put online as soon as you enter it.
How to stay online safely with adequate cybersecurity measures
You might not be able to avoid being monitored by the multiple apps you download or the countless of websites you visit, but there are ways in which you can limit what and how your information gets shared online.
The thing is, apart from TikTok, there are other day to day apps and platforms you use, which manage to steal your data or hack into your accounts. Inculcating simple but effective cybersecurity measures into your lives is vital.
Here’s what you can do:
ResearchBefore downloading anything or entering an unauthorized website, do a little research on the company or site. If you dig a little deeper you’ll find multiple user reviews concerning similar issues. Take those reviews as a warning and turn away from using such platforms.
Use a VPN softwareDownloading security software for your devices are important. Using a software like a VPN can add extra online protection, turn away malicious ads to keep you from clicking on them, even if by mistake.
The VPN doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many premium deals for online protection going around. Look those up, get insight to other user reviews, and then invest in the app. Not every VPN is safe, so make sure that research is part of your investments.
Use an anti-virus or malware protectorOther security software also include malware protectors, anti-virus’ and more. A complete sweep through your device allows you to get rid of viruses or malware that managed to slip through the cracks and onto your files, data etc.
Limit what you postDon’t overly post everything online. Giving out too many details also allows hackers to invade your space and use that information against you.
Parental guidanceParents should monitor their kid’s online activities, especially if they’re underage. There’s a fine line between giving your kid some space and having them take advantage of it. Check up on what they download and post every now and then.
It may sound harsh trying to talk down on a particular app or website, but the wind always blows in the right direction.
There have been too many cases worldwide, where mass surveillances were in order. So many newer ways were created to infiltrate your device and data. Learning about the apps and websites you use won’t harm you in any way and considering options to protect yourself from them will always take you in the right path.
So, stay online, but stay safe!