TikTok tracked users who watched gay content, prompting employee complaints

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TikTok is possibly the most offensive app on the Play Store and Apple’s app store combined. Between being more privacy invasive than some malware, suppressing content from users with acne or other skin imperfections, and now this, it literally is both dangerous and unethical. To say nothing of the fact that it doesn’t serve any purpose other than wasting your time and worsening your social media addiction.

I never use TikTok and I think neither should anyone tbh, even if they don’t care about privacy.


I think TikTok is great. It depends on the content one chooses to view. App permissions can be restricted (or one can use a web browser).

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In the past I could watch a tik tok video on a web browser on my phone but I can not in the last 6 months. Usually it would be a link on signal.
When I did watch these “funny” videos I assumed the sender was on a dopamine high an hour in to swiping and sharing.
If the shared article was wrote with Facebook, Google, or other big tech in place of tikTok it would be just as plausible.
I don’t know how it would work but we need laws that go all the way back to the basics. The EFF has been reoccurring in my studies. These terms of service which no one reads to me circumvents constitutional rights. The laws can not keep up with the internet. 20 years ago gay sex was illegal Lawrence v. Texas and big tech literally is collecting probable cause. To purchase a new fire arm in the United States you can not use illegal drugs no time restriction and you can not be committed to a mental health institution again no time constraints ATF Form 4473. If some Mental Health app or illegal drug use app prevented someone from buying a new firearm based off data collection lawyers would be all over this.

My qualm with TikTok is that it doesn’t justify its blatant invasion of user privacy in any way. Like I use Facebook Messenger to communicate with some of my friends who still don’t have signal, and I use Instagram account as a gallery (I’m an amateur photographer). But unless you’re a prolific content creator and make money from it, TikTok doesn’t do anything other than wasting your time and worsening your screen addiction. To each their own ofc.


Many permissions can’t be restricted at all. Data collection is possible even without you granting any specific user permission to the app. ( Ofc they can’t access your gallery or camera, but other forms of identifiers, sensor data etc)

The question of whether TikTok does anything beyond wasting one’s time is a subjective one. It can be argued that the time one enjoys wasting is not wasted time.

In my experience, TikTok has introduced me to mind-broadening content on diverse fields of science, mathematics, geography, languages and linguistics, philosophy, the history of religion, atheism, politics, etc. in addition to some highly engaging cat videos.

Like I said, to each their own, and I would never tell someone what to do. However I believe the best advice you can give somebody is to go out and enjoy the world instead of remaining sedentary, and spending time on something that studies have connected to mental and physical health issues:

A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance. Social media use can affect users’ physical health even more directly.

It’s up to you if you still wanna use TikTok even after knowing all of this ofc. However TikTok is objectively bad in the sense that it’s a very privacy invasive app that’s been known to discriminate against people based on their looks, and in the sense that its long term use was linked to mental problems.

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On a lighter note, you gained all this knowledge watching 20 sec clips?

I am particularly interested how you learnt maths from Tiktok beyond some cheap tricks to multiply/divide numbers.

By the way, I might add that I am speaking from experience as I myself used to be addicted to social media. I would spend 6 hours a day at the very least on Facebook, Twitter, and reddit (TikTok wasn’t a thing back then), until I decided that enough is enough and deleted Reddit and Twitter and started using Facebook mostly like a messenger. I’ve never looked back! Since then, I developed a passion for hiking and photography, I got back to working out, and I spend my evenings with friends and family, with Friday nights usually spent partying or sharing a beer with a bunch of friends just like my parents did before social media existed and I can’t even tell you how much better it’s been.

To be clear, I am not a mathematician. However, there are mathematicians making content on TikTok. They go much longer than 20 seconds and include topics such as mathematical proofs and introductions to theorems.

I haven’t found TikTok to be addictive. I can pick it up and put it down. And I don’t view it every day.

I am concerned that TikTok has become the target of a disinformation campaign conducted by the U.S. government. I think that the U.S. government’s concern about TikTok is that because of its foreign ownership, they cannot safely make it a PRISM partner (as they did to Facebook, Microsoft, Google, YouTube, and Apple) or have the FBI telling them what to shadow ban or delete (as the FBI and the broader U.S. intelligence community has done with Twitter).

Tech radio host Kim Komando routinely tells her audience (with zero evidence) that TikTok collects all the information on your phone and sends it to the Chinese Communist Party.

I don’t think there’s much misinformation involved. It is a privacy invasive app, and the devs have been caught discriminating against users and creators. I think the US government is worried about spying which tbh is a very legit concern.

Why do you think concerns about spying via TikTok are legitimate?

@Acolyte If you uhh…remember what the thread is all about, ie. a news article reporting Tiktok TRACKING gay users…

That’s not espionage, and it’s not really tracking, either. As I understand it, TikTok was categorizing users for advertising purposes.


TikTok’s actions with respect to these journalists is legitimate cause for concern, but it’s not espionage, despite the use of the word “spying” in the title of the New York Times article.

Like I told you when we were talking about WhatsApp, a bit of skepticism and caution is always helpful when it comes to security and privacy. It’s very poor practice to wait for a scandal to happen before you start having second thoughts.

But to answer your question, TikTok literally admitted to spying on US users

Again, it’s perfectly fine if even after seeing this you still wanna use TikTok. Like I tell people in real life, it’s usually good practice to care about privacy and security but you’re free to pay it no mind of course.

But it’s a fact that TikTok is a privacy nightmare.