TikTok Privacy and Security Concerns – Should You Use This App?

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 10, 2023
Read time: 31 minutes

TikTok has faced numerous allegations and bans regarding poor data privacy and user security. Yet it remains popular among the masses.


TikTok is a disruptive entrant in the social media realm that quickly gained popularity owing to its user-friendliness, easy accessibility, and creative content. However, the app’s Chinese ownership and potential data mishandling raised concerns about its safety for users – especially youngsters. While the app has significantly improved its practices, whether or not you should use TikTok remains a critical decision, which you can take only after knowing its potential privacy risks.

Does TikTok function like other social media platforms, or is it spyware? Should it be banned? Recently, TikTok has elicited much debate about online privacy and security for users. So we did extensive research to get to the bottom of it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a straight answer like headlines and politicians put it. For example, the video-sharing platform is as dangerous to the average person as any other app. However, sometimes you should avoid the app because of the possibility of government interference and complicated Chinese laws.

Besides discussing TikTok’s potential as a spy tool, we’ll also delve into other possible dangers. For example, because of its immense popularity, it has the potential to spread propaganda or censor information.

Much of the hype TikTok has received is overblown and doesn’t address the real issue. So, read on to know if you should continue using TikTok or whether the calls for a TikTok ban or sale are valid. 

What is TikTok?

The social media app allows users to create short-form videos, typically lasting up to 60 seconds. It has become popular for the freedom of creating a variety of videos. You can create and share videos on various topics, from dance and music videos to comedic skits and political commentary. 

TikTok was launched in China in 2016 under its parent company Douyin. It was later released internationally as TikTok in 2017. The app belongs to ByteDance, a Chinese tech company that became a valuable start-up worldwide. In 2020, worldwide, making it one of the fastest-growing social media apps in the century.