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Governments worldwide take precautions against TikTok

➡️In 2022 TikTok was the most downloaded app globally.

➡️It has over 1 billion monthly active users.

➡️40% of TikTok users don’t have a Facebook profile.

➡️On average users spend 95mins per day on TikTok.

➡️55% of TikTok users have bought something after seeing the brand on the app.

But, as the Chinese government is a part owner, there’s concerns worldwide on the national security risks of using TikTok.


❌TikTok is currently banned, completely, in India.

❌It has been banned on government devices in the USA and Taiwan, and Australia continues to debate this with some departments already enforcing bans.

❌This week the European Commission and Canadian government have also banned its use on official devices.

❌TikTok is not available in China, and Chinese residents have their own version that’s unavailable for download outside of China.


And USA lawmakers are currently preparing legislation for the
total ban of TikTok nation-wide.

The USA is the largest audience for TikTok, with 113 million monthly unique users. A total ban in the USA would be a massive hit to the app and its $38.6 billion annual ad revenue (based on 2021 alone).

But what does this really mean, and is TikTok going to disappear as quickly as it arrived?

Since its launch in 2016, there’s been concerns around User Privacy and how the app may be accessing and using data, in particular what this means for National Security.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has repeatedly and vigorously reassured that there is no need for concern and that the Chinese Government’s partial ownership is limited and poses no threat.

With strict policies to protect user data and all data stored within America and Singapore… are these bans what some are calling “Chinese fear-mongering” or are they actively protecting us and our sensitive national information?

Did you know…

Every app you download tracks your data in some way.

Websites you visit also track your data.

This data is used to create ‘inferred demographics’ which allows the platform to understand who you are… and serve you targeted ads amongst other things.

Based on a study by URL Genius which reviewed 200 iOS apps and their network connections, you can see for yourself how much of our data is tracked by apps, websites and even streaming platforms.

First-Party Data vs Third-Party Data

A big part of the discussion in the last few years is around who owns the data. First-party data is owned by the company who gathers it. Whereas Third-Party Data is passed on and around to external companies.

TikTok was recorded in this study to have only one network identified as First-Party tracking, whereas 13 were Third-Party. And it’s those extra, unknown Third-Parties that are causing the concern. Ask by who, why and for what is the data being accessed?

Is TikTok a masterstroke of addictive-app genius by China to gather and access sensitive data secretly?

Or is it just another app gathering our data and using it in questionable ways, that happens to have ties to China AND rapid revenue growth and popularity – making it a prime target for Government attention?

I tend to believe it’s the latter, personally. Only time will tell. But working in digital marketing, I am well aware of the massive amounts of data gathered, and which continue to be even though tech firms continue to push their care for user privacy… just look at Apple’s iOS 14 update… positioned as a privacy-first decision, but it also enabled them to turn off the tap on user data to third-party advertising platforms and utilise its own first-party data to boost revenue.

TikTok is only 6yrs old, and it has completely transformed our online social behaviour, influencing the development choices of other social platforms as they try to get in on the rise of bite-sized, user-generated video content. I think it’s here to stay… but with its current guidelines and privacy structure? Maybe not.

The focus on TikTok and its use of data is only helping to highlight the prevalent issue industry-wide… what happens to our data? The digital space is always rapidly evolving, we’re still only in the early stages of its meteoric rise and are learning how to best handle and respond to its social impacts as we go.

There’s no blueprint on how to run & manage the internet.

We run social management and paid ads for our clients on TikTok, and continue to monitor the changing regulations around its use with interest. The current restrictions are just another reminder why it’s so important to not put all your eggs in one basket and diversify your marketing channels, ensuring you have a range of sales or leads channels supporting your business.

Not sure if you’re rolling out your marketing as best as you could? Feel free to get in touch with Dash and chat with Lauren about your marketing needs.

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