Looks like the ill-fate of TikTok is not coming to an end.
The video-sharing platform, owned by a Beijing based company Bytedance, has been continuously making headlines, and we only wish if it was for good reasons.
The company has been subjected to privacy concerns for a while now. The app rose to fame almost overnight, and stands strong with over 1.5 billion app installs, being one of the most popular apps of the 2010s.
TikTok went global only in 2018, after acquiring the US-based video sharing app in 2017 for $1 billion. In a matter of two years, the app has become a huge success.
Yet for over a year, the app has been in controversies for one reason or the other, yet it managed to stay popular among youth.
The app tracks user data in a similar fashion to Facebook, it accesses the user’s location data, contacts, mobile phone activity even when the phone is not being used.
Facebook a while back also rolled a similar update without notifying users and got a lot of criticism for that.
A proposed action lawsuit filed in California last year claimed that TikTok collects data like IP, email addresses, contacts, phone numbers, and social contacts.
Which engenders grave concern regarding the privacy of such sensitive data. The app’s terms of service state that it may share the data with its parent, subsidiary, or other affiliates.
What’s more bothering is an earlier version indicated that if legally required to it could share user data with law enforcement & public authorities or other Chinese businesses, According to Economic Times.
But on June 29th, given the tensions on Indo-China border, as a step for the sake of sovereignty, Integrity, and Security of the county. The Indian government has banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps.
After the decision, the US government is amid the talks to ban the app in the United States as well.
Though this isn’t the first time the app is amid controversy.
Security concerns regarding TikTok are rising in the US since November 2019 when the US opened a national security investigation into the app.
Even in India, the app was banned last year for allegedly distracting kids and exposing them to sexual content, given the minimum age limit for the app in the country is 12 years.
Which led to a short-lived ban, which was revoked after the app claimed to have removed six million videos from the platform, which didn’t comply with the platform.
Again, in May 2020, TikTok’s android app ratings plummeted from 4.2 to 1.2 in a matter of a week. When the internet divided over a conflict between YouTube and TikTok Influencers and the sharing of some objectionable content.
Though it was later restored by Google Play Store, by deleting millions on reviews made on the app.
What’s notable here is outside China, India and the US were among the major markets for the app. If it gets banned in the US, it will be a major setback for the owners.
This isn’t all for the app makers in 2020, In early July, the app withdrew from the Hong Kong market, after China imposed a new security law in the county.
Even this stand wasn’t enough to convince governments of the app maker’s position with Human Rights, that calls are being made to ban TikTok among the Australian Government.
This isn’t it yet! The app is now slapped with a fine of $1,40,390 by the Korean Communications Commission in South Korea for allegedly mishandling data of children below the age of 14.
An investigation started back in 2019, claims that more than 6000 such records are found.
Where the personal data of a child is collected without their legal guardian’s consent. And, also failed to notify that data was routed overseas.
In another event, Amazon asked its employees to uninstall the app, which was later retracted.
However, in a recent statement, White House economic advisor, Larry Kudlow told reporters that TikTok might pull out of its Chinese parent company ByteDance to become an independent US company.
The whirlpool of controversies puts the app’s future into jeopardy, it might be the best decision the app makers. And if it does, maybe it will be able to lift the ban in the Indian market.
Do you think the decision will help TikTok? Or will it be able to relaunch in India? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.