What are the concerns about using TikTok? Should parents tell their kids to delete it? – CBS Minnesota

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By Jeff Wagner
/ CBS Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS – A popular app for entertainment and news is now banned on government devices in Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.
Public employees in those five states can’t have TikTok on their work phones, computers or tablets. The reason is for security concerns, given TikTok’s owner – ByteDance – is a Chinese company. The FBI is also sounding the alarm about the social media platform.
Aynne Kokas, an author and the director of the University of Virginia East Asia Center, broke down some of the concerns.
“The first is the type of data that TikTok, as an app, is able to gather about our usage of the technologies,” Kokas said.
That includes our contacts, voice, images and things we like on the app or preferences.
“Then there’s the aspect of what the app can gather on our phones outside of that app,” she said.
That could include your fingerprint you use to unlock the phone. The worry is that China’s government can audit data from ByteDance for security reasons, then potentially influence users with what does or does not show up in their TikTok feed.
Would that be a concern if China’s government could have access to information on your phone? Kokas says not necessarily.  
“I don’t think that any information I have on my phone would necessarily be used for harm,” she said. “It’s not about our individual user data, as much as it is about aggregating the data of so many people to be able to develop misinformation campaigns, disinformation campaigns.”
Does this mean people should delete the app from their phone? And should parents be mindful if their children have it?
“This is obviously a personal choice at this point,” Kokas said. “Overall, I would say parents should be very careful about what apps their kids download on their phones.”
TikTok denies sharing any user data with the Chinese government. It told CBS News that any concerns leading to these bans are misinformation.
Jeff Wagner joined the WCCO-TV team in November 2016 as a general assignment reporter, and now anchors WCCO’s Saturday evening newscasts. Although he’s new to Minnesota, he’s called the Midwest home his entire life.
First published on December 12, 2022 / 10:16 PM
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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