App’s rapid rise cre­ates se­cu­rity con­cerns

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce -

TikTok is one of the world’s most pop­u­lar apps, achiev­ing more than 2bn down­loads since its launch in 2016. In the UK, the app is ex­pected to break 10m users by the end of next year, up from 4.9m in 2019. Its kalei­do­scopic feed of 15 to 60-sec­ond video clips is of­ten fun and hu­mor­ous, giv­ing rise to a strange new world of lip­synced dance rou­tines, food tu­to­ri­als and other odd­ball con­tent that keeps hun­dreds of mil­lions of teenagers and young adults mes­merised.

How­ever, with its grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the west, TikTok has also come un­der scru­tiny from reg­u­la­tors and law­mak­ers.

Don­ald Trump said this week he was con­sid­er­ing ban­ning it as a way to pun­ish China over the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Other top US law­mak­ers have raised con­cerns over the po­ten­tial for TikTok to leak users’ data to the Chi­nese govern­ment. The app has also faced ques­tions on whether it hides videos from Hong Kong’s protests to ap­pease the Chi­nese govern­ment – some­thing it has re­peat­edly de­nied.

In­dia – where TikTok is also wildly pop­u­lar – re­cently blocked the plat­form on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds fol­low­ing a deadly bor­der clash be­tween its sol­diers and Chi­nese forces.

Away from se­cu­rity con­cerns, there re­main fears that TikTok is a haven for preda­tors.

Some say its pop­u­lar­ity, par­tic­u­larly among young girls, ex­poses them to com­ments and other po­ten­tial abuse from ne­far­i­ous ac­tors. For some, the so­cial net­work has grown too quickly to have suf­fi­cient safe­guards in place.

TikTok says safety is a “pri­or­ity” and that it has pro­tec­tive mea­sures in place to avoid mis­use.

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