TikTok is Worse Than Facebook When it Comes to Privacy

Citizen Lab analyzed the Tik Tok app to identify issues related to cybersecurity, privacy and censorship. According to experts, TikTok probably poses no more threat to users than the social network Facebook. The experts analyzed both the TikTok app, available outside of China, and its Chinese version, Douyin.

In China, app developers are held accountable for content posted on their platforms, leading them to increasingly censor them in line with government directives restricting free speech.

Neither TikTok nor Douyin exhibit malicious behavior, the study found. While Douyin does contain dynamic code loading and server-side search censorship, TikTok does not have similar features. Both apps have code to restrict prohibited content. Douyin restricts some of the political terms in its search, but it is not yet clear if TikTok censors any political content. Douyin also collects additional information about devices and some usage patterns that are stored internally and sometimes shared with other Chinese companies.

“On TikTok, the end result of customizing a common codebase seems to create a product that is largely in line with international industry regulations, as we did not find any unwanted features like Douyin's, or major deviations from privacy, security and censorship, in comparison with Facebook, ”the experts explained.

The research team noted that the absence of evidence of privacy issues does not mean there are none, as the application's settings could be deliberately changed.

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