Technology TikTok accused of secretly gathering user data and sending it to China
TikTok-owner Bytedance reveals its first smartphone
The rumored smartphone by TikTok's owner ByteDance is now available. The Nut Pro 3 is ByteDance's first smartphone. It's a continuation of work by the Chinese phone maker Smartisan (which partially explains the name), and it's being released under the Smartisan brand. As we learned earlier this year, ByteDance acquired a bunch of Smartisan patents and talent. ByteDance then helped make the Nut Pro 3 and packed it with branded features. Apparently, it didn't decide to change the naming scheme.Users will be able to launch Douyin -- the Chinese version of TikTok -- by swiping up on the lock screen, Abacus reports.
, known for its quirky 15-second videos, has been illegally and secretly harvesting vast amounts of personally identifiable user data and sending it to China, according to a proposed class-action filed in California federal court last week.
The lawsuit also accuses the company and its Chinese parent company ByteDance of taking user content such as draft videos without their consent and having "ambiguous" privacy policies. It raises concerns that data gathered by TikTok could be used to identify, profile and track users in the US. The company is benefiting from this alleged activity because it uses this data to sell targeted ads, the lawsuit alleges.
TikTok’s global social media takeover is starting to slow down
The Chinese social app just hit a big growth snagIn the two and a half years since it launched outside China, TikTok has seen astounding growth, adding more than 500 million users so far this year and closing in on 1.5 billion users in total. But according to new data from mobile analytics firm SensorTower, TikTok just experienced its first ever growth slowdown on a quarterly basis.
"TikTok's lighthearted fun comes at a heavy cost," according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday.
The allegations against the popular short video app are the latest example of the growing security concerns surrounding , which surpassed 1.5 billion downloads worldwide in November. The is also reportedly looking into the app for potential security risks.
Misty Hong, a college student and resident of Palo Alto, California, is suing ByteDance, TikTok and Musical.ly, a lip-sync app that was rebranded as TikTok, for allegedly violating a federal computer fraud law, the California Constitution's right to privacy and other laws.
TikTok apologizes for removing viral video criticizing Chinese treatment of Uighur Muslim community
The video was removed due to human error, TikTok says.TikTok, a social media platform where users post short videos, has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times. The Chinese app is reportedly under investigation by the US over national security concerns.
TikTok videos often include close-ups of people's faces, allowing the company to gather biometric data on its users, according to the lawsuit. Once a user shoots a video and clicks the "next" button, the videos are transferred to various domains without their knowledge. This happens before users even save or post a video on the app, the lawsuit states.
Hong downloaded TikTok in March or April 2019 but never created an account, according to the lawsuit. Months later, she discovered TikTok made one for her. She created five or six videos using the app but never saved or published the videos. Still, TikTok secretly took the videos and her data without her knowledge and sent the information to servers in China, according to the lawsuit.
TikTok is gathering a trove of data about its users, including their phone and social network contacts, email addresses, IP address, location and other information, according to the lawsuit. The company allegedly uses different tactics to conceal that they're transferring user data. Even when a user closes the app, it still harvests biometric and user data, the lawsuit states.
Citing articles from news outlets such as CNBC, Quartz and Affinity Magazine, the lawsuit alleges user data was sent to China. It lists several Chinese servers the data was transferred to before and after February 2019.
TikTok and Hong's lawyers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
TikTok fixed a flaw that could have exposed user accounts .
TikTok has been the subject of national security concerns for some time, and now things are set to get a little more uncomfortable for the company. According to cybersecurity company Check Point, the popular app had serious vulnerabilities that could have allowed hackers to obtain personal information and manipulate user data. The vulnerability could have resulted in TikTok users being sent messages containing malicious links. If clicked, attackers could take control of user accounts. Check Point also discovered a separate flaw, which allowed researchers to obtain personal information via TikTok's website.
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