TikTok’s Data Privacy Problems: How Are They Getting Fixed?

In the last year, citizens across America have wondered about the data privacy problems on social media platforms. Data privacy is defined as “the ability of a person to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent personal information about them is shared with or communicated to others.” TikTok has been at the top of the list when people discuss the problems with data privacy (TikTok’s new CEO says company will reveal how its algorithms work (axios.com). Since the main audience is kids and younger adults, this has been a massive problem. They have recently come out with multiple solutions to these problems and, hopefully, this can give citizens relief.

The Problems

TikTok is owned by a Chinese tech company named Bytedance. This is the first big app that they have created so it raises questions about the company’s credibility. This is also the first app that China has had that has been able to spread throughout the whole world. Many people also wonder how much power the Chinese government has over this app and how much we don’t see behind the scenes. In this political system, the government controls way more than a typical western government. This means for this political system it is much easier for them to gain access to data that is recorded by a company. This information is a problem for Americans because of the age group that is using Tik Tok. The mass of people that use this app are children and young adults. For these reasons, Americans are asking questions about how safe Tik Tok is to use and the problems with data privacy.

person holding black android smartphone
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

How the problem is being fixed

To address concerns, TikTok has made moves towards greater transparency and has detailed a new algorithm approach. The “for you page” (or FYP) has been a huge hit, but it does raise a lot of concern. The new chief executive of TikTok, Kevin Mayer, says that the company will release the code that drives the content-moderation algorithms. This information will not be released to the public, but it will be released to experts that can observe the data at all times. TikTok has also released that they will reveal data flow to regulators. TikTok is encouraging all social media platforms to do the same. This is a big step in modern-day social media. This is the first company to release this much information, so this is a big step for the future. This is important because defuses the problem that they have had with the American government regarding their relations with the Chinese government. With the release of this data, they move forward with the problems that they have had in the past. Mayer says that this could open a lot of doors in the future. This dilemma about algorithms of every social media platform could be exposed so hopefully more rules can be enforced in the future. They plan to develop a transparency and accountability center in Los Angles to keep track of this data.

The big picture for TikTok in the future

They are agreeing to all terms that have been put in front of them. They are also being way more transparent with their data so they can be trusted by regulators. Most importantly, they are trying to regain the trust back from Americans. One of their goals is to make sure that Americans feel safe while using the app. They are welcoming competition and not trying to make a big deal out of other social media platforms copying their material. Most platforms are copying some content just to be able to compete with TikTok. For example, Instagram’s reels are very similar to the same layout as TikTok uses. They do not mind the material that other platforms are using they think it is a good thing for other platforms to use this type of material. “We are willing to take all necessary steps to ensure the long-term availability and success of TikTok,” Mayer wrote. The plans for TikTok are very simple in the future. They are trying to stay out of everyone’s way and try to build back their image by doing the right things. This data is being released because they want to still be big in the industry for years to come. They are trying to make sure that the steps they are taking right now can ensure their success in the future.

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