The phrase “fundamentally parasitic” was used.
In case you haven’t been forced to sit through one of its numerous ads on YouTube, TikTok is a newer social media platform that has become quite popular with the youth of Gen Z. It’s sort of like Vine, in that it emphasizes short videos rather than text or photo posts, but with the added caveat that most of the videos are musical in nature, often featuring choreographed dance routines. However, TikTok has recently attracted scrutiny from the United States government due to its origins in Chinese tech firm ByteDance. One man in particular doesn’t much care for TikTok’s data practices: Steve Huffman, CEO of social media platform Reddit.
“Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them,” Huffman said at the “Social 2030” panel discussion on Wednesday. “Because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.” He then added, “I actively tell people, ‘Don’t install that spyware on your phone.'”
While Huffman has been the most vocal about it, he is not alone in his concerns against TikTok. The app has been known to collect large amounts of user data, including voices and prints. A student in California filed a lawsuit against ByteDance last year after the app allegedly made an account for her without her consent and began taking in data from her. ByteDance has insisted that all data collected from US users is stored in US servers, but many people seem less concerned about where the data is going, and more that it’s being collected at all.
Recently, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel voiced his own displeasure toward TikTok. He expressed concerns that TikTok could overtake Instagram because it utilizes large, elaborate dance routines, rather than normal social posturing.