News July 6, 2020

TikTok faces mounting pressure from pollies and hackers

TikTok faces mounting pressure from pollies and hackers

Chinese-owned app TikTok is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Over 1.6 million Australians and more than a billion people worldwide are using the music-themed service, which artists and record label have welcomed with open arms.

The video-sharing platform’s owner, ByteDance, thinks it will lose US$6 billion after India banned the app – along with 58 others – following tensions between the nations.

TikTok is also under fire from Anonymous hackers for shady data collection practices after reports the app was collecting mobile clipboards every few keystrokes.

“Delete TikTok now,” Anonymous said. “If you know someone that is using it, explain to them it is essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.”

A TikTok representative claims the action was intended as an anti-spam measure, but as Digital Music News points out, “there are far more effective ways to block spam”.

In Australia, plans are underway to bring TikTok before the Foreign Interference through Social Media senate inquiry, according to the Herald Sun.

Earlier this year the Australian Defence Force joined the US military and navy in banning TikTok on any defence-issued device over fears it could compromise national security.

An unnamed federal MP told the tabloid that the app’s fun appearance meant it had gone largely unscrutinised in Australia.

“It might be dressed differently but it’s the same beast,” the MP said.

In response, a TikTok Australia spokeswoman told the Herald Sun that plans are underway to reduce access to local data by BytDance employees in China.

“TikTok takes user data security seriously and has steadily worked to increase controls on access,” the TikTok spokeswoman said.

As reported by TMNTikTok launched an Australian office last month with two key hires, Lee Hunter and Brett Armstrong, tasked with monetising the platform locally.

TikTok also advertised for a “rock star” head of music based in Sydney, “to support the TikTok music strategy and drive the success of Australian music on the platform”.

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